A weapon without identification numbers may be impossible to trace. And when someone alters or removes these numbers, it suggests criminal intentions. For this reason, Pennsylvania has outlawed the possession of firearms with altered or removed serial numbers. It is also a crime to remove or alter these identification numbers.
If you get convicted of either crime, you could face a lengthy prison sentence and a fine. In addition, you’ll have a felony entry on your criminal record that can affect your ability to get a job. When your future is at stake, you should hire a Pittsburgh weapons lawyer you can trust to defend your case. At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC, we are dedicated to defending the rights and freedoms of the accused and have a proven track record of getting positive case results for our clients.
Pennsylvania Laws Regarding Firearms With Altered Identification Numbers
According to Pennsylvania Statutes Title 18, Chapter 61, § 6117, it is illegal to change, alter, or remove the identification numbers on a firearm. The penalty for violating this section is a felony of the second degree, which could lead to 10 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of $25,000.
Pennsylvania Statutes Title 18, Chapter 61, § 6110.2 prohibits the possession of a firearm with altered or removed identification numbers. This is also a second-degree felony involving a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a possible fine of $25,000.
Antique firearms are exempted from this prohibition because many antique firearms have been repaired in a way that obscures their serial number. Some antiques may not have serial numbers at all. Pennsylvania Statutes Title 18, Chapter 61, § 6118 defines an antique firearm as any gun that:
- Operates by matchlock, flintlock or cap percussion
- Was manufactured on or before 1898
- Is a replica of an antique that doesn’t use center fire or rim fire ammunition
- Is a replica of an antique that uses center fire or rim fire ammunition that is no longer manufactured or not readily available in the channels of commercial trade
How a Pittsburgh Weapons Lawyer Can Help
As soon as you learn of the charges against you, you should contact an experienced criminal lawyer. The sooner he or she can begin work on your case, the better your chances at trial.
Your Pittsburgh weapons lawyer may be able to apply several defenses to your case, such as:
- Showing that law enforcement obtained your firearm through an illegal or warrantless search
- Using the rules of evidence and criminal procedure to block the prosecution’s use of certain evidence against you
- Demonstrating that there is a reasonable doubt as to whether you possessed the firearm or altered its numbers
- Claiming that your arrest, detention, and interrogation by law enforcement violated your constitutional rights
- Obtaining a light sentence if you are proven guilty, but mitigating factors apply to your case
If you’ve been charged with possessing a firearm with altered serial numbers, a Pittsburgh weapons lawyer can help. Call us today for a free and confidential consultation of your case at (412) 281-2146.