The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution protects a person's right to bear arms. However, in order for people in Philadelphia to legally possess a firearm, they must have a gun license. Despite this law, many people still possess firearms without a license. If a person is caught with a gun without the proper license, they could face serious gun charges. Even after being charged, the person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Recently, a Philadelphia man was charged with possession of a firearm. The man was the passenger in a car that was pulled over for allegedly speeding. The car was a rental and, according to police, neither the driver nor passenger had a valid driver's license. The police searched the car and allegedly found a handgun and some drug paraphernalia. The passenger was said to have admitted to being the owner of the gun but did not have the proper license for the gun.
In Pennsylvania, most illegal gun possession crimes are felonies and, if convicted, a person may face serious penalties. Depending on the actual offense, a person convicted of gun charges may face a mandatory jail sentence. Under certain circumstances, the person may also be prohibited from possessing a firearm in the future.
However, there are defenses to weapons charges. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person did in fact possess the firearm in question. A defendant has the right to challenge the police officer's search of their person, home or car. If the police did not legally seize the gun from the defendant, the court may not allow it to be used as evidence. Without the gun, the prosecution will have a hard time meeting the burden of proof.
Source: The Reporter, "Philadelphia man charged with possession of a firearm in Limerick," Caroline Sweeney, Dec. 7, 2013