Firearm background check in pennsylvania

Civil rights means the right to vote, run for office, and serve on a jury.


Pennsylvania state law also prohibits anyone who has been convicted of certain crimes from purchasing or possessing a firearm. Additionally there are other classifications of people who are prohibited under Federal law from possessing a firearm, these include any person who: is a fugitive, is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance, has been adjudicated as a mental defective or been committed to a mental institution, is an illegal alien, has renounced his US citizenship, was dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces, or is subject to an order restraining from an intimate partner that was issued after a hearing.

Generally, an expunged or pardoned conviction in PA is not considered a conviction for the purposes of the Federal or Pennsylvania firearm prohibitions. While Pennsylvania has a procedure for individuals to apply to a court to restore their gun rights, this procedure will not help in the case where the prohibition falls under the Federal firearm law because the PA firearm rights restoration process provided for under Pennsylvania state law does not relieve the Federal firearm prohibition unless all of your civil rights have been restored.

In Pennsylvania State Police v. Paulshock, Pa. In Pennsylvania, your voting rights are restored immediately upon release from incarceration. However, the right to serve on a jury is taken away if you have ever been convicted of a crime punishable by more than one year in prison and can only be restored by obtaining a pardon. Additionally, you lose the right to hold public office if you have been convicted of embezzlement of public money, bribery, perjury, or any other infamous crime any felony basically.

That right also can be restored only through a governor's pardon. Therefore, if you were convicted of a felony and lost the right to serve on a jury or hold public office and have not been granted a pardon, then the federal law will prohibit you from owning or possessing a firearm even if a Pennsylvania court restores your firearm rights. If your convictions are not eligible for judicial expungement at this time and the federal firearm prohibition applies, the only way for you to fully restore your gun rights is to apply for and receive a pardon from the governor of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania law makes it illegal to knowingly make a false statement in connection with the purchase of a firearm. Every person who attempts to purchase a gun in a retail establishment will undergo a state and federal background check in Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania law makes it a felony of the third degree to lie in connection with this background check. While most people recognize that a criminal record prohibits a person from possessing a firearm, the laws relating to firearm purchase and ownership are complicated because not all crimes count and many people mistakenly believe that a juvenile record does not count.

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Under Pennsylvania law, there are a number of crimes for which a conviction will result in the person becoming prohibited from ever purchasing or owning a firearm. Some of them are relatively obvious. For example, any felony like Burglary, Robbery, or Possession with the Intent to Deliver, will prohibit a person from owning or possessing a gun both under Pennsylvania and Federal Law, and a felon in possession can be charged with a very serious state crime under 18 Pa. Although certain prohibitions such as the ones mentioned above are fairly obivous, other convictions are not so obvious.

For example, having three DUI convictions within five years leads to a prohibition on firearm ownership. For purposes of this article, it is not possible to list every possible conviction that leads to a prohibition on gun ownership under state law. However, if you have any type of criminal record or anything else which you believe could prohibit you from owning a firearm, it is always advisable both to review the statute and to consult with an attorney prior to attempting to purchase or possess a gun as it is not a defense to a charge that the defendant did not realize he or she had a qualifying conviction.

In addition to prohibiting felons and certain other people from possessing or carrying a gun, Pennsylvania law also makes it a crime to conceal a criminal record when attempting to purchase a firearm. Pennsylvania and federal law require gun purchasers to undergo a Pennsylvania and federal background check, and the forms can be very confusing.

For example, question 31 of the Pennsylvania form asks, "Have you ever been convicted of a crime enumerated in Section b , or do any of the conditions under c apply to you? Even though the form may be very complicated, it can be a serious felony to answer those questions incorrectly. Under 18 Pa.

Thus, it is a felony of the third degree for someone to knowingly and intentionally make a materially false statement in connection with the purchase of a gun, and this includes failure to disclose a prior qualifying conviction or adjudication. Further, there are other conditions which can trigger firearm disability under c such as Protection from Abuse orders, domestic violence convictions, and mental health commitments.

There are many situations in which juvenile records count for purposes of the statute. Even though many people commonly believe that juvenile records do not "count" in the same way that adult records do, juvenile records have significant consequences.

For example, the conditions of c including a number of juvenile adjudications, meaning that someone who has been adjudicated delinquent of certain offenses as a juvenile may be prohibited from purchasing a firearm either until they turn 30 or forever depending on the offense. Accordingly, people often get into trouble with this statute when they leave a prior criminal record off of the form. In some cases, this may be a mistake, and this issue often arises in cases where the defendant had a really old case and does not remember the outcome of the case or where the defendant was adjudicated delinquent of a qualifying offense as a juvenile.

Given that the language referring to b and c is not particularly clear, it is often a defense in these cases if the defendant did not remember the prior conviction or did not realize that the prior conviction or adjudication would count.

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For example, because most people do not realize that a juvenile record "counts," the prosecution may not be able to show that the defendant knew that the statement was false because the defendant did not understand the ramifications of a juvenile adjudication or the language contained in the statute which is referenced on the form. Likewise, a defendant who forgot about getting arrested twenty years ago could also have a defense if the Commonwealth cannot prove that the defendant was knowingly lying.

Commonwealth v. Because of the confusing language on the form, P.

PA Purchase Requirements

When he failed the background check, he immediately filed an appeal with the State Police and informed them that his only prior record was for a juvenile offense and he believed they had made a mistake. The State Police denied the appeal, and a few months later, P. He also told the Trooper that he did not believe his juvenile record counted. Attorney Goldstein immediately began a two-pronged approach to the case. First, he had P.

In Pennsylvania, taxpayers subsidize background checks for gun buyers

Attorney Goldstein drafted a letter to the prosecution and included all of these mitigating documents. Second, Attorney Goldstein thoroughly investigated the case and forced the prosecutor to provide full discovery. Initially, the prosecutor had not seen all of the documents in the State Trooper's file and believed discovery to be complete, but Attorney Goldstein knew from experience that documents were missing and demanded that the prosecution obtain them from the State Police. The additional, supplemental reports turned out to be highly exculpatory.

Once the prosecutor had more information about P. These cases typically unfold in the same way. In just about each case, the defendant attempts to purchase a gun and leaves a qualifying disability off of the background check, either on purpose or by mistake. When the defendant's information is run through the State Police computer system by the store, the system rejects the buyer and notifies the State Police of the failed background check.