People in Pennsylvania generally have the right to possess a firearm and there are many people who own guns. However, there are a number of restrictions on that right. People need to register the firearms and have a license if they want to carry them. Also, there are ways in which people can lose their right to possess them. Typically, people who have committed certain felonies and other crimes of violence are prohibited from possessing firearms.
Specifically, people convicted of crimes stated in the statutes are prohibited from possessing guns. These crimes include but are not limited to, aggravated assault, burglary, felony sexual assaults, felony robbery, stealing a motor vehicle, drug crimes that would result in at least two years in prison, people convicted of at least three DUIs in a five-year period and others. In addition to those convicted of certain crimes, people who have been declared incompetent and those with active protection from abuse orders cannot possess firearms.
People prohibited from possessing a firearm could face serious consequences if they are convicted. For those who are prohibited from possessing a gun because of a previous conviction could be charged with a first-degree felony. Those who are prohibited from possessing a firearm because of an active protection order could be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. Those are serious charges with serious consequences if people are convicted.
There are many people in Pennsylvania charged with various gun crimes each year. However, being charged with a crime simply starts the criminal justice process. People have rights after being charged, the most important one being that they are innocent until proven guilty. It is important that people understand all their rights and the potential defenses. Experienced attorneys understand these rights and defenses and may be able to guide one through it.