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What is a 'firearm' under the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act?


One may think that a person has the unequivocal right to carry a firearm. However, this is not always the case. In fact, there are instances in which the possession of a firearm, even if it is not used while committing of a crime, is illegal.

Under the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act of 1995, there are certain instances in which a person who has been convicted of certain criminal offenses is not allowed to possess, carry or use a firearm. The violation of this law can result in serious penalties. Therefore, it is important to understand how Pennsylvania law defines the term "firearm."

First of all, a weapon may be considered a firearm if it is a revolver or pistol which has a barrel that is under 15 inches long. A weapon may also be considered a firearm if it is a shotgun with a barrel that is under 18 inches long. In addition, a weapon may be considered a firearm if it is a rifle with a barrel that is under 16 inches long. Finally, a weapon may be considered to be a firearm if it is a shotgun, rifle, revolver or pistol that is under 26 inches from end-to-end. For purposes of determining the barrel length of the weapon, the length will be measured as the distance from the face of the closed action, cylinder or bolt to the muzzle.

Understanding whether a weapon is a firearm or not for the purposes of criminally charging a person for violating the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act of 1995 is important. It is entirely possible that a person has illegally carried a firearm without even knowing it. Due to that, and the serious consequences that come with weapons charges, those accused of such crimes may want to seek the advice of an attorney, who can help explain the laws and how they apply to the facts of the person's case, so that a solid defense strategy can be formulated.

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