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Possessing firearms in a courthouse


Gun rights is a hotly debated issue in Philadelphia with passionate people on both sides of the issue. However, regardless of a person's views on gun rights, the law allows certain people to possess firearms with the proper licenses. But, there are many others who are prohibited from possessing them. Nonetheless, even those who have the proper licenses are still prohibited from possessing them in certain locations.

One of these locations is a courthouse. It is illegal for one to possess a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a courthouse. The severity of the punishment depends on the circumstances though.

If a person with a license to carry the gun simply possesses one, then they could be guilty of a summary offense. If the person possessed one and did not have a license to carry, it is misdemeanor in the third degree. But, if the person possessed the gun with the intent of committing a crime with it, then the person could be guilty of a misdemeanor in the first degree.

Courthouses do have to provide lockers or similar areas for people to store their firearms while they are in a courthouse, if they have the proper licenses. There also must be signs at each public entrance to the courthouse indicating that it is illegal to possess a firearm in the courthouse. If there is not a notice posted at an entrance, a person cannot be convicted for the offense. There are also some exceptions for people, such as law enforcement.

Many people lawfully possess firearms in Philadelphia, but they cannot possess them in a courthouse. If a person is charged with this offense or any other gun offense, it does not automatically mean that they are guilty though. Guilt must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, and there may be defenses available to the person charged. It is important to understand the law to ensure that one protects their rights after being charged with a crime.

Source: Pa.us, "Pennsylvania Statute Title 18 Section 913," accessed on Sept. 26, 2016

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