Shotguns in Pennsylvania and New Jersey —What the Philadelphia Eagles’ newest gun owners need to know!

Alfonso Gambone
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A Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer representing accused persons throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Shotguns in Pennsylvania and New JerseyRecently, Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz  presented his offensive lineman with a rather unique gift this holiday season—shotguns! While I’m not going to comment on whether such a gift is appropriate, I do want to highlight some of the potential legal consequences under Pennsylvania’s Uniform Firearm’s Act and New Jersey’s Graves Act that Mr. Wentz has created through this gesture of generosity for the men responsible for keeping him safe on Sundays.

While there’s nothing illegal about Wentz’s “non-traditional gift,” it does create some legal ramifications if these recipients treat it like just any other holiday gift from a friend (i.e. luxury watch,).   According to one source, Wentz did not actually give a shotgun to each player but rather a gift certificate which allows the player to purchase online a Beretta Silver Pigeon shotgun with each player’s number engraved on the butt. Upon the purchase, each player would be responsible for satisfying the license requirements for their respective home states.

If these players plan on taking these firearms into Pennsylvania or New Jersey, however, they will need to follow laws regarding gun ownership in these jurisdictions to avoid any potential legal consequences.   Unlike, New Jersey, Pennsylvania has firearm reciprocity with a number of states including North Dakota!

A person is permitted to possess a handgun or firearm in their home or place of business without a license but commits a felony of the third degree if he or she travels outside of the home without a license to carry it under Section 6106 of Pennsylvania’s Uniform Firearm’s Act. There are a number of exceptions to Section 6106 for specific individuals (police, members of the Armed Forces, security guards, etc.) and for individuals transporting handguns to and from ranges, repair facilities, or engaged in interstate travel. Pennsylvania will also honor an out of state permit to carry from another state even if a reciprocity agreement doesn’t exist with that particular state depending on circumstances. If a person is transporting a gun or firearm through the Commonwealth, however, without any permit to carry it, the firearm must be unloaded and in a secure container or wrapper.

A person is permitted to legally carry a shotgun Pennsylvania if they possess a valid hunting license and is either engaged in the act of hunting or going to or coming back from this activity. This means that the Eagles newest shotgun owners will need to obtain a hunting license if they plan on joining their young quarterback for a hunting trip in Pennsylvania. Further, if they plan on purchasing the shotgun out of state and transporting it into our Commonwealth, they will need to make sure that it isn’t loaded and in secure container to avoid violating Section 6106.   If any of theses players live in or plan on traveling into New Jersey with these shotguns, the laws are strict and there is no reciprocity with Pennsylvania.

While none of the Eagles are probably prohibited from owning firearms in Pennsylvania, it’s a felony of the second degree under Section 6105 if one of the players falls into category of enumerated offenses. New Jersey has a similar provision under its Graves Act under Section 2C:39-7. Unlike Pennsylvania, a person who wants to purchase a shotgun or a handgun in New Jersey must obtain a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card and provide one additional form of photo identification at the time of the purchase to the Garden State to avoid committing a crime of the 3rd degree under section 2C:39-5(c). The buyer must also obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from New Jersey. Unlike Pennsylvania, it is nearly impossible to obtain a license to carry a handgun or firearm in New Jersey.

Hunting, however, like Pennsylvania is an exception in New Jersey under Section 2C:39-6(f)(2) but the person must be engaged in the actual act or traveling to or from it (shotgun unloaded) under Section 2C:39-5(c) of the Graves Act. New Jersey also requires a hunting license if you are in possession of shotgun for gaming purposes and that you be on the actual hunting grounds.

My purpose here is to criticize Carson Wentz’s gifting selection but to offer him and the rest of the Eagles some sound and free legal advice as fan to avoid any incidents off the field. For more information on gun and firearm offenses visit my free download section on the website.

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