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Carrying a Firearm Without a License in Pennsylvania

Carrying a firearm without a license in Pennsylvania is a serious crime, with significant penalties. Those who are 21 years of age and older are permitted to apply for a license in the state, and violating the rules associated with carrying a firearm can result in misdemeanor or felony penalties.

With the help of experienced criminal defense attorney David J. Cohen at your side every step of the way, you can know that you are represented by an attorney who understands Pennsylvania firearm laws and can defend your case.

Carrying Firearms in Pennsylvania

Carrying a concealed firearm without a valid Pennsylvania license is against state law. The law is codified at 18 Pa.C.S. 6106, and prohibits a person from carrying a firearm without a proper license.

You are allowed to carry a firearm without a license:

  • in your own home; and
  • in your fixed place of business.

Otherwise, most members of the public are required to have a license to carry a firearm. Exceptions to the conceal and carry law include:

  • members of law enforcement;
  • members of the U.S. military;
  • enrolled members of an organization to purchase or receive firearms;
  • a person at target practice, or a person going to or from target practice, so long as the weapon is not loaded while in transit;
  • bank or security firm employees authorized to protect money or valuables (i.e. Brinks or Dunbar employees);
  • licensed dealers or manufacturers;
  • carrying an unloaded firearm that is securely wrapped after purchase, sale, repair, or appraisal;
  • anyone recovering stolen property;
  • a person teaching others how to handle firearms safely;
  • a person instructed to relinquish a firearm back to a location;
  • licensed hunters who are hunting or headed out to hunt;
  • a person training a dog during a regular training season;
  • a person with another state's valid license;
  • a person whose license is expired within 6 months, and is eligible for renewal; and
  • any person legally allowed to transport firearms between states.

Penalties for Carrying a Firearm Without a License in Pennsylvania

Depending on the facts of your case, a charge of carrying a firearm without a license can be a misdemeanor or a felony.

Misdemeanor Charges

If you are caught:

  • with a concealed firearm on your person or in your car without a license; and
  • you are otherwise eligible to obtain a license; and
  • you did not commit other criminal offenses at the time

then carrying a firearm without a license is a Misdemeanor of the 1st degree. You face the following potential penalties:

  • 2.5 to 5 years in prison; and
  • a fine of up to a maximum of $10,000.

Even a misdemeanor charge is serious and leaves you with a criminal record. Defending your case should be your first priority.

Felony Charges

If you are caught:

  • with a concealed firearm on your person or in your car without a license; and
  • you are NOT eligible for a permit; or
  • you committed another criminal offense while carrying the firearm

then carrying a firearm without a license is a Felony of the 3rd Degree. You face the following potential penalties:

  • 3.5 to 7 years in prison; and
  • a fine of up to a maximum of $15,000.

Felony charges also come with a serious stigma that could make it very difficult to gain and maintain employment. With the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, you may be able to reduce your charges or even get them dismissed.

What To Do If Charged With a Crime

If you are charged with carrying a firearm without a license, you should immediately consult with an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney. You should not talk with police or prosecutors without your attorney present. Anything you say could be used against you, and often your statements will be taken out of context in an attempt to hurt your case.

Your licensed attorney can present defenses and examine issues in your case, like:

  • determining whether you can file a suppression motion to keep out evidence;
  • figuring out if you fall under one of the statute's exceptions;
  • deciding whether you even needed a license in your situation; and
  • whether a felony charge is appropriate or provable.

Defending your case is extremely important in protecting your freedoms and your way of life. Remember, just because you are charged with a crime does not mean that you are guilty.

Consult an Experienced Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney

If you face charges of carrying a firearm without a license, there are defenses which can be raised on your behalf. You have the right to challenge the prosecutor's allegations and defend your constitutional rights. Never assume you are guilty, or that there is no point in fighting back.

Criminal defense attorney David J. Cohen is devoted to representing the people of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and surrounding areas. Contact the David J. Cohen Law Firm, LLC today for a consultation.

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