What to Know About Philadelphia Firearms Charges If Arrested

by | Dec 13, 2021

Philadelphia surpasses well more than 500 homicides from gun violence in 2021, city police are actively enforcing local, county, and state laws. Some local officials are reporting no “crisis” of criminal activity in the city just days before police stated that there were 23 homicide arrests in recent weeks with many related to Philadelphia firearms charges.

Regardless of the facts, Philadelphia is on high alert regarding unlawful possession within city limits. If you were arrested for a Philadelphia firearms violation, this article is for you.

In This Article

In this article, a Philadelphia gun crimes defense lawyer addresses three crucial areas of law that you should know if arrested for a firearms violation, including:

  • Overview of Philadelphia Firearms Laws
  • Penalties for Philadelphia Firearms Violations
  • What to Do If Arrested for Philadelphia Firearms Charges

Let’s start with an overview of Philadelphia firearms laws and other related questions that can help you understand your charges better.

Overview of Philadelphia Firearms Laws

Philadelphia law enforcement officials and justice departments are strict regarding concealed carry rules. However, once a gun owner obtains the necessary permit, they are granted the right to carry a concealed firearm. Avoid carrying firearms in and around the city without a permit, even if transported in a trunk.

Here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions regarding gun possession and carry in Philadelphia.

Do You Need a Philadelphia Concealed Carry Permit?

Philadelphia follows different concealed carry laws than the rest of the state per 18 Pa. CS § 6108. While Pennsylvania state laws permit “open carry,” Philadelphia’s unique restrictions do not let anyone carry a gun, even if it’s unconcealed, without a permit. You must have a concealed carry permit to transport or possess a firearm within city limits.

This rule applies to:

  • Firearms
  • Rifles
  • Shotguns

There are no laws against possessing a firearm in your residence, as long as are not a person prohibited from possession. However, once it leaves your Philadelphia home, you MUST have a Philadelphia-specific concealed carry license.

You can learn more about the city’s concealed carry permits by visiting the Philadelphia Police Department’s website.

Can You Transport a Firearm Through Philadelphia?

You need a concealed carry permit if you are driving through Philadelphia with a firearm in your vehicle. State law provides for some exceptions to this general rule, such as when you’re moving you’re home or going to or from target practice. However, the exceptions are limited, and you need to keep good records if you want to use one of the exceptions as a defense in a criminal case. If you don’t have a concealed carry permit, but you have a gun in your car, be sure that it is unloaded and that ammunition is stored in a separate location or compartment. Keep in mind that state and federal laws still apply when traveling through the city as well.

Does Philadelphia Offer Concealed Carry Permit Reciprocity?

Philadelphia lacks concealed carry permit reciprocity, meaning that your out-of-state permit will not be sufficient. Although there is a limited exception that allows a person to carry a firearm in a vehicle IF that person has a valid license for that firearm issued by the United States or any other state, this exception does not apply to carrying outside of the vehicle. If you plan on taking up permanent residency in the city, you should apply for a permit before moving here.

Lawful firearm transport and carry are necessary to avoid arrest and possible conviction for a misdemeanor or felony offense. As stated previously, there are strict penalties on the line if you receive a firearm violation conviction.

Penalties for Philadelphia Firearms Violations

Carrying a firearm without a valid permit is a severe offense in Pennsylvania, possibly with life-changing consequences. Some of these consequences not only include fines and jail time, but they also could result in a loss of gun ownership rights altogether. Therefore, your Second Amendment rights could be at stake if convicted of a criminal offense.

The most common types of Violations of the Uniform Firearms Act (VUFA) and arrests we handle are usually charged under the following statutes:

18 Pa. CS § 6105. Persons not to possess, use, manufacture, control, sell or transfer firearms.

Convictions under this statute are usually classified as 1st-degree felonies (F1) punishable by up to twenty (20) years imprisonment and $25,000 in fines or 2nd-degree felonies (F2) and punishable by up to ten (10) years imprisonment and $25,0000 in fines.

18 Pa. CS § 6106. Firearms not to be carried without a license.

Convictions under this statute are classified as 3rd-degree felonies (F3) and first-degree misdemeanors (M1) and punishable by up to seven (7) years imprisonment and $15,000 in fines.

Felony charges carry a significant stigma that can make obtaining and maintaining employment extremely difficult. With the assistance of an experienced firearms defense lawyer, you may be able to reduce or even dismiss your charges. However, it is critical to protect your case sooner than later since “waiting and seeing” can result in legal mistakes that count against you.

Avoid these collateral consequences of a conviction by protecting yourself and acting right away.

Related Article: What Is a Violation of the Uniform Firearms Act (VUFA)?

What to Do If Arrested for Philadelphia Firearms Charges

Penalties are severe, such as prison time, hefty fines, and felony convictions. If you are facing any of these consequences due to a Philadelphia firearms violation, hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. We consider relevant factors and listen to arguments that could mitigate the likelihood of a criminal conviction.

Advantages of hiring a Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer include:

Our job is to defend you and determine whether the system contains provisions that could work in your favor. Additionally, we are familiar with the major players in the legal system with whom you will interact in the courtroom.

Where applicable, we also have the ability to:

  • File motions to suppress evidence
  • Determine if there are exceptions to your charges
  • Prove that you had the proper licensure
  • Challenge the prosecutor’s case theory

There are numerous rules and laws buried within regulations and other statutes. If there is a way to present your case favorably, you can count on your attorney to follow through.

Advantage 2. Negotiation Skills

While a plea bargain to reduce a sentence or dismiss charges may be your best option, prosecutors could take advantage of self-represented defendants. Seasoned criminal defense attorneys have years of experience negotiating cases and employ creative strategies to obtain sentences that an arrested person would not know. Your defense lawyer will prevent this from happening by explaining your legal rights and options.

Excellent criminal defense attorneys also have experience locating and hiring experts to investigate the alleged violation. If investigators or expert witnesses uncover evidence that casts doubt on a witness’s credibility, this could be a massive asset to your case.

Gun owners should protect their legal rights by hiring a Philadelphia firearms defense lawyer at Shuttleworth Law PC as soon as possible. Brad V. Shuttleworth invites you to contact him for a Free Case Evaluation now by calling (215) 774-1371 or messaging him directly here.

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