Gun Cases

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As a trial lawyer, I have handled thousands of guns cases.  Many in federal court but most in state court.  In Pennsylvania no license is required to possess rifles and shotguns. Nor is a license required to possess a handgun in one’s own home or business.  In order to carry a handgun on the public streets or in a vehicle, one must be licensed to carry a firearm; or transporting the firearm for a legitimate purpose such as target shooting or to a dealer in either case it must be properly transported.  Application for a license to carry can be made to the chief of police or sheriff department depending upon where you live. 

Act 235 permits and Sportsman’s permits are different from licenses to carry firearms.  I often represent Act 235 permit holders for possessing firearms when police believe that them to be off duty.  I have won many cases for Act 235 permit holders for carrying to and from places of employment.  I have successfully represented many corrections officers charged with illegally carrying firearms. 

State law and federal law precludes certain persons from possessing firearms – handguns, rifles and shotguns (See, ATF Form 4473 and PA State Police Form SP4-113).  If you were ever arrested contact me before completing either form.  Inaccurately completing either form can result in your arrest.  Persons who CANNOT purchase firearms or possess firearms are:

  • Fugitives and persons who are in wanted status;
  • Persons convicted of violent crimes and in some cases this includes misdemeanor offenses;
  • Person convicted of a controlled substance offense punishable by more than 2 years;
  • Persons who suffer from mental illness;
  • Illegal aliens;
  • Minors (Handguns only and not if supervised by of a parent, or guardian engaged in lawful activity).

Often motions to suppress evidence are key to successfully litigating gun cases.  Lack of reasonable suspicion or probable cause will lead to suppression of the firearm and thus dismissal of the case.  Additionally, whether a person legally possesses the firearm may be subject legitimate dispute and successfully litigated before a judge or jury.  When a firearm is not recovered from the person and instead is recovered from a car, a home or business, or a public street, may be grounds to successfully challenge possession and go to trial on the issue.
Notably the legality of the possession of a firearm does not detract from one’s right to use the firearm in self defense.  In other words, unlawful possession of a firearm will not preclude the right to use a firearm in self defense.  I have won many murder and assault cases by claiming self defense.  In some of those cases individuals illegally possessed and used firearms.  However, the punishment for illegal possession of a firearm pales in comparison to punishment for murder or aggravated assault.

It is important to remember if you are charged with illegally possessing, purchasing, or transferring a firearm, as with any charge, investigation or allegation, to hire an attorney that is familiar with the law and the process and an attorney that is experienced in the law and litigation of the issues and the presentation of the pretrial motions and defenses.


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