Weapons Crimes Attorney

The constitutions of both the United States and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania give individuals the right to bear arms. Many Pennsylvanians own weapons to protect themselves and their families, as well as to participate in sporting activities. However, the right to buy, sell, own, or carry weapons is not absolute. Pennsylvania law has certain restrictions in place to reduce the likelihood of harm to the public. Anyone found guilty of violating these restrictions may face severe punishments, including hefty fines and many years of incarceration.

If you are facing charges relating to firearms or other weapons, working with an experienced Pennsylvania weapons crimes attorney can optimize your chances of protecting your future rights and liberty. The skilled and knowledgeable gun charges lawyers at SMT Legal have the experience and resources to provide the aggressive weapons charge legal representation you need at this critical time. Call us today at (412) 765-3345 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation with a firearms lawyer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Gun Laws in Pennsylvania

An individual has the right to purchase and own guns in Pennsylvania as long as no law specifically prohibits them from doing so. Unlike many states, Pennsylvania has no firearm permits requirements to buy rifles, shotguns, or handguns, and you are not required to register the weapons you own. All firearm purchases do, however, require a background check.

Sporstman’s Firearm Permit

Individuals from the age of 18 and older can apply for a Sportsman’s Firearm Permit. This document will allow you to transport firearms you intend to use for hunting purposes. Those without a license must keep their firearms unloaded while in the vehicle.

Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms

From the age of 21, you are eligible to apply for a Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms. This license gives you the right to carry a concealed firearm on your person or in your vehicle. The permit is valid for five years.

The application is followed by a waiting period of up to 45 days while the sheriff’s office in your county conducts a background check and assesses your eligibility to receive a license. They will deny your application if Commonwealth law specifically prohibits you from carrying a firearm. They may also deny your application if they reasonably suspect that you will behave in a manner that endangers public safety.

Firearm Crimes in Pennsylvania

The gun charges defense attorneys at SMT Legal can offer individualized criminal defense for gun charges of all kinds, including the following.

Possessing Criminal Instruments

It is a first-degree misdemeanor offense to possess any instrument of a crime or to carry on your person a concealed firearm or other weapon that you have intended to use to commit a crime.
If you are in possession of body armor while committing a felony or while attempting to commit a felony, you may also face third-degree felony charges.

Possessing a Firearm When Prohibited

Pennsylvania law specifically prohibits you from possessing firearms if you have been convicted of certain felonies, such as:
  • Murder
  • Voluntary Manslaughter
  • Involuntary manslaughter involving a firearm
  • Working with organized crime
  • Sex crimes
  • Possession of a firearm on school grounds
You may face felony charges if you are found in possession of a firearm despite this prohibition.

Carrying a Firearm Without a License

With few exceptions (including being a member of the U.S. Military or law enforcement), you are not entitled to carry a firearm concealed on your person or in your vehicle if you do not have a valid license. If you contravene this restriction, you may face first-degree misdemeanor or third-degree felony charges.

Selling or Making Repairs to Offensive Weapons

If law enforcement has reason to believe that you possess, have sold, or have made repairs to certain weapons, such as machine guns, grenades, or bombs, you may face first-degree misdemeanor charges.

Firearm Theft

Stealing a firearm is a serious crime in Pennsylvania. If you are suspected of stealing or receiving stolen weapons such as handguns, rifles, shotguns, carbines, or machine guns, you may face second-degree felony charges.

Possession of a Firearm with Altered Numbers

Pennsylvania law only allows you to own firearms with distinct and unique identification numbers. These numbers make it possible for law enforcement to trace the weapon’s ownership. If you possess a weapon with a manufacturer’s number that has been removed, altered, changed, or obliterated, you may face second-degree felony charges.

Bearing a Weapon on School Property

Pennsylvania law prohibits the presence of firearms in many locations, most notably schools. If police find you with a weapon on public or private school grounds, you may face first-degree misdemeanor charges.

Penalties for Gun Charges in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The legal penalties you face for a conviction on gun crime charges will depend on the type and severity of the crime.
  • A third-degree misdemeanor can lead to a fine of up to $2,000 and up to one year in jail.
  • A second-degree misdemeanor can lead to a fine of up to $5,000 and up to two years in jail.
  • A first-degree misdemeanor can lead to a fine of up to $10,000 and up to five years in jail.
  • A third-degree felony can lead to a fine of up to $15,000 and up to seven years in prison.
  • A second-degree felony can lead to a fine of up to $25,000 and up to ten years in prison.
  • A first-degree felony can lead to a fine of up to $25,000 and up to twenty years in prison.
Even if you do not spend the maximum amount of time in jail or prison, you may be required to be on probation, complete many hours of community service, pay restitution, or go through mandatory counseling. You may also face further consequences, including difficulties securing housing or employment, as well as the permanent loss of your right to own a firearm. Working with an experienced weapon violations attorney who can mount a solid firearm charges defense can maximize your chances of avoiding the harshest consequences of a conviction.

How a Firearm Crime Legal Defense Attorney Can Help

While being charged with weapons crimes in Pennsylvania can be overwhelmingly stressful, working with an experienced attorney can allow you a chance to protect your future. Our team will conduct a thorough review of your case to determine whether we can move to have the charges dropped. If not, we will discuss the next best steps with you and use our experience and skills to build the most robust possible defense. This may include:
  • Challenging the legality of a traffic stop or search
  • Questioning the admissibility of evidence
  • Establishing that the firearm was not actually in your possession
  • Demonstrating that you had no intention to commit the offense

Contact SMT Legal Today

If you are facing firearms or weapons charges in Pennsylvania, the seasoned team at SMT Legal understands how challenging this time is for you. Our goal is to put your mind at ease as we do everything we can to protect your future. We believe everybody deserves a second chance, and we are eager to fight for yours. Call us today at (412) 765-3345 or contact us via our online form for a free consultation with a weapons crimes attorney in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Thomas Sporrer Thomas Sporrer - SMT Legal Thomas Sporrer - SMT Legal
Thomas’s clients say of working with him that he was “very clear with his strategy of my case from the consultation to the court date.” Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Thomas enjoys helping his hometown community.

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