There are many laws governing who can own guns and when guns can be used in Philadelphia. There are also laws that prohibit people from owning or possessing a gun based on past actions. When these laws are violated, the person may face gun charges and serious consequences as a result. There are also laws that enhance the penalties for crimes when the person committing the offense uses a gun.
There is an exception to this rule though. People are allowed to use guns or other weapons in self-defense, even though normally the use of the gun to harm another individual would be a crime. However, there are certain criteria that must be met for a person to act in self-defense. If the requirements are not met, then the person could face criminal charges.
People can use force to protect themselves against another who is trying harm them. The person can even use deadly force, if the person believes they need to use it to protect themselves against death, serious bodily harm, rape or kidnapping. It is presumed that an aggressor is intending one of those things, if they forcefully enter the person's home or car or are forcefully trying to remove the person from the person's home or car.
However, people have a duty to retreat to safety, if they can, prior to using deadly force unless certain criteria are met. People can stand their ground if they have a right to be where they are, the aggressor has a gun or other dangerous weapon and the person believes that they must use the force to protect themselves against potential outcomes listed above.
If a person uses a gun or another weapon in self-defense then they either will not be charged with a crime or can use it as a defense after a charge to avoid a conviction. However, if the above criteria are not met then they may face weapon charges and severe consequences as a result.
There are many people who use guns in Philadelphia. Some of these people are using them in self-defense. If that is the case, the person may avoid criminal charges or a conviction as a result. Experienced criminal defense attorneys understand the laws regarding self-defense and may be able to protect one's rights.
Source: Pennsylvania General Assembly, "Pennsylvania Statutes Title 18 Section 505," accessed on June 29, 2015