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Felony Criminal Possession of a Firearm 

Korey Leslie, Attorney-At-Law, LLC Sept. 14, 2022

Man holding hidden short gun in his handContrary to popular belief, not everyone has a right to possess a firearm in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Under state law, specific individuals in Pennsylvania are prohibited from possessing firearms. The law also makes it illegal for individuals to carry firearms without a valid license.   

If you have been charged with criminal possession of a firearm in York or anywhere else in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, you could face severe repercussions. Therefore, it is vital to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your best course of action to avoid a conviction or minimize the potential penalties.   

At Korey Leslie, Attorney-At-Law, LLC, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients and helping them achieve the best possible outcome in their firearm-related criminal cases. From our office in York, Pennsylvania, we provide comprehensive defense strategies to clients in Harrisburg, Lancaster, and Camp Hill.   

Pennsylvania’s Criminal Possession of a Firearm Law  

In Pennsylvania, criminal possession of a firearm is referred to as “persons not to possess a firearm” and also “firearms not to be carried without a license.” Even though the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the right to keep and bear arms, individual states can pass laws to regulate gun possession.  

Under Pennsylvania law, an individual can be charged with a third-degree felony (firearms not to be carried without a license) for carrying a firearm in their vehicle or concealed on their person without a valid and legally obtained license. The only exception is if the individual carries a firearm in the place where they live or a fixed place of business.  

Prohibited Persons Under Pennsylvania Law 

Pennsylvania law also prohibits persons previously convicted of certain crimes from owning, possessing, controlling, using, or selling firearms or even obtaining a license to carry firearms. State law provides a long list of criminal offenses that prohibit an individual from possessing firearms or, in other words, make them a “person not to possess.” Those criminal offenses include but are not limited to most sex crimes, murder, manslaughter, robbery, aggravated assault, kidnapping, stalking, and many others.  

Individuals with a disqualifying criminal conviction on their record are prohibited from possessing firearms regardless of whether they were convicted in federal or state court in Pennsylvania or another state.  

Other prohibited persons who are prohibited from possessing a firearm in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania include: 

  • Persons with prior drug convictions; 

  • Individuals unlawfully in the U.S.;  

  • Fugitives from justice; 

  • Persons involuntarily committed to any mental institution;  

  • Persons deemed mentally incompetent;  

  • Individuals against whom an active order of protection is directed;  

  • Persons with at least three DUI convictions within five years; and 

  • Individuals prohibited from possessing a firearm by federal law.  

It is critical to contact a firearm defense attorney in York, Pennsylvania, to identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and help you understand your potential defense strategies to fight the charges.  

What Qualifies as a ‘Firearm’? 

Under Pennsylvania law, the term “firearm” is defined as:  

  • A pistol/revolver with a barrel length not exceeding 15 inches; 

  • A shotgun with a barrel length not exceeding 18 inches;  

  • A rifle with a barrel length not exceeding 16 inches; or 

  • A pistol, revolver, shotgun, or rifle that is less than 26 inches in length.    

If you believe that the weapon that was found in your possession does not meet the definition of a “firearm” under Pennsylvania law, you may use it as a defense to dismiss or reduce the charges filed against you.  

Possible Penalties 

The punishment for felony possession of a firearm in Pennsylvania can be rather severe. The penalties vary from one case to another depending on the facts surrounding the offense. In most cases, individuals convicted of felony possession of a firearm will be required to pay a fine and serve a lengthy sentence in prison.   

Your freedom and future could be at stake if you are facing felony possession of firearm charges in Pennsylvania. Given the serious nature of the penalties associated with felony possession of a firearm, you must contact a competent defense attorney to defend you against the charges to help you avoid or minimize penalties.   

Take Legal Action Today   

We understand that this can be a stressful and overwhelming time for you, which is why our criminal defense attorney at Korey Leslie, Attorney-At-Law, LLC, can assist you in building a defense to lessen or dismiss any penalties you may be facing. Our team has the knowledge, resources, and experience to assist your specific situation. Contact our criminal possession of a firearm defense attorney in York, Pennsylvania, for a case evaluation. We proudly serve clients in Harrisburg, Lancaster, and Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.