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What are the penalties for illegal possession of a firearm?


There are many people in Philadelphia who own or possess firearms. Many of these individuals are allowed to possess the firearms and have the proper licenses to carry them. However, many people have lost their right to possess firearms as a result of committing certain crimes. Previously we discussed the many offenses that result in the loss of a person's right to possess a firearm.

Once a person has lost their right to possess a firearm, they risk criminal charges if they are found with one in the future. These charges can carry very serious consequences if a person is convicted. The consequences vary depending on why they are no longer allowed to possess a firearm, but some involve mandatory jail time.

If the person was previously convicted of more serious crimes, they face harsher consequences if they are subsequently found with a firearm. For instance, if they were previously convicted of aggravated assault, kidnapping, rape, arson, burglary or robbery, then they are likely facing felony gun charges. The punishment for a felony in the second degree could include jail time.

However, if they are not allowed to possess a firearm because they are subject to an active protection from abuse order, then they are facing a misdemeanor in the first degree. This is only if they knowingly violate the order by failing to relinquish all of their firearms. Also, if a person accepts firearms from a person who is subject to an active protection from abuse order they can also be charged with a crime. However, people in this position would only be guilty of a misdemeanor in the third degree.

There are many people in Philadelphia who have lost their right to possess a firearm and may be accused of illegal weapons possession. This post is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. Attorneys understand the consequences and possible defenses and may be useful resources if one is facing weapons charges.

Source: Pennsylvania State Legislature, "Pennsylvania Statute section 6501" accessed on Oct. 26, 2014

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