Our criminal defense law firm is based in Philadelphia, but we represent clients all over Pennsylvania, including Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware, and Chester counties. Unlike New Jersey, where we also represent accused persons, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a “shall issue” state as opposed to a “may issue” state. This means that while there are restrictions with regards to the carrying of firearms within the Commonwealth, most individuals can obtain one and carry it outside their place of business or their home if they satisfy certain requirements (license to carry). For more information on gun charges in PA, check out my free book!
A person who wants to sell or purchase a firearm needs to understand that ignorance of the law is never a defense and any illegal transaction involving a gun or firearm in the Commonwealth could result in a misdemeanor or even a felony conviction under Section 6111 of Pennsylvania’s Uniform Firearm’s Act. In Pennsylvania there is a specific manner and time in which a gun or firearm can be legally sold or transferred.
Time and Manner of the Firearm Transfer
In the Commonwealth a firearm or gun seller can’t deliver or transfer a firearm to a purchaser until 48 hours have elapsed from the time of the application for the purchase. Further, when the seller transfers or delivers the weapon, it must be securely wrapped and unloaded. In addition to these requirements, Pennsylvania recognizes that only a licensed firearm or gun importer, manufacturer, or dealer can sell or transfer a firearm to another person until the following is satisfied:
- An application/record of sale from the potential buyer or transferee is filled out and the original is sent to the Pennsylvania State Police, a 2nd copy is retained by the licensed importer, manufacturer, or dealer, and one copy is provided to the purchaser. This application should include the name, address, date of birth, gender, race, description, and social security number of the purchaser, as well as the date of the application and a description of the firearm. In addition, this application should contain the following question:
- “Are you the actual buyer of the firearm as defined under 18 Pa.C.S. 6102? Warning: you are not the actual buyer if you are acquiring the firearm on behalf of another person, unless you are legitimately acquiring the firearm as a gift for any of the following individuals who are legally eligible to own a firearm:
Criminal Background Check Required
In addition to the application, the Pennsylvania State Police, upon receipt of the application information, will complete a background check. The State Police should destroy the information within 72 hours of the background check unless it is discovered that the individual is prohibited from possessing a firearm pursuant to Section 6105, due to some disqualifying criminal history, juvenile delinquency, or mental health issue.
Non-Licensed Gun or Firearm Dealers
You do not need to be a licensed dealer, manufacturer, or importer to sell or transfer a gun or firearm within the Commonwealth but all people must follow the above stated procedures to complete a transaction regardless of their license status. If you are an unlicensed dealer, the law limits where you can actually complete the transfer (sheriff office, dealer shop or dealer place of business) The only individuals who do not need to follow these procedures are persons who transfer guns or firearms between spouses or from a parent to a child, or grandparent to a grandchild.
Any person or licensed dealer who knowingly or intentionally sells, delivers, or transfers a firearm in violation of Section 6111 commits a misdemeanor of the 2nd degree but commits a felony of the 3rd degree if the purchaser or transferee is otherwise prohibited from possessing the firearm.
Other Penalties – False Statements on Application
A person also commits a felony of the 3rd degree under Section 6111 if, as a purchaser or transferee, makes any materially false oral or written statement or otherwise provides false information.
For more information on crimes involving the illegal possession or carrying of firearms in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I encourage you to read my book What Everyone Should Know About Guns, Drugs, and Defense Lawyers in Pennsylvania which is available on our website as a free download.