Under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, Americans have the right to bear arms. However, with this right comes certain processes that people must go through in order to obtain and carry a weapon. Certain forms and applications are a part of this process that can be confusing and far from straightforward. It can be easy to make a mistake on one of these forms, and that mistake can land you in serious trouble. The same is true if you deliberately put false information down on the form. Not only may you be denied the right to have a gun, but you could also face additional criminal penalties as well.
Experienced Philadelphia attorney Joseph D. Lento is highly experienced in the area of criminal defense and is here to answer your questions, as well as represent you in your criminal case. You can protect your right constitutional rights with a strong legal defense.
Philadelphia Falsifying Information on a Gun Permit Lawyer
Have you been arrested for allegedly being falsifying information on a gun permit or application in Pennsylvania? You will want to immediately seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney who will fight to protect your rights.
Joseph Lento of Lento Law Firm aggressively defends clients from all over Philadelphia County and many nearby areas of Pennsylvania against these charges. He can provide a complete evaluation of your case and begin developing a formidable legal defense when you call (215) 535-5353 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Buying a Gun in Pennsylvania
If you are living in Pennsylvania, and want to buy a gun from a firearms dealer, you will be required to fill out an appropriate application. The process is rather in-depth. The forms will include information about:
- your age
- your employment
- any criminal history
- your address
- any other disqualifying information
The purpose of these forms is to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals. However, even a person who would use the firearm safely and for legal purposes can find him or herself on the wrong side of the law if the forms are not filled out correctly.
Falsifying information on a Pennsylvania gun permit application is a felony. A felony is a very serious charge that carries the potential for high fines, probation, and the potential for a prison sentence.
Common Mistakes or False Information on Gun Applications
Some of the most common mistakes or false information on gun applications concern questions about certain prohibitions against gun ownership established by the federal government. Under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), you are not allowed to own a firearm if you have ever been convicted of any felony, or if any of the following apply to your record:
- Misdemeanor Domestic Abuse Conviction: If you were convicted of a domestic violence offense, you will not be permitted to own a firearm. Domestic violence can include battery, assault, rape, or other violent offense against a family or household member. Failure to admit this on the form, or a lie saying you were never convicted of this offense, will lead to a felony charge.
- Protection from Abuse (PFA) Orders: The forms will often ask if you are subject to a "court order" which restrains you from contacting or harassing any other person. If you have an active PFA, you do. Failing to include this on the application is a problem.
- Misdemeanors Punishable By More than Two Years: The actual sentence you received does not matter, only if the judge could have punished you with a jail sentence of more than 2 years. This catches people off guard, as they may not even know when this is the case.
- Mental Health Commitment Status: When a person is committed or has been committed due to their mental health status, this must be disclosed on the gun permit and application form. This would include a 302 commitment, a voluntary commitment, or an involuntary commitment. It is important not to hide this information on a gun permit application.
Criminal Charges From False Information
People are often charged with providing false information without any investigation into whether that false information was provided accidentally or purposefully. Even people who never intended to lie could find themselves in trouble on these gun permit application forms. When a gun dealer inputs the application into a computer database, any inconsistency must be reported to the Pennsylvania State Police. In most cases, the Pennsylvania State Police will investigate the case.
If the information on the ATF form is falsified, the State Attorney's General Office will instead investigate the complaint. In either case, officers will likely come to you and ask for an interview, just to "clear things up." However, you could be unknowingly providing information that will be used against you in court. Instead, you should have a lawyer present with you to help protect your rights.
If you made a false statement on a gun purchase application, you could face charges under one of two laws.
Pennsylvania Code of Crimes Title 18, Section 4904
Called Unsworn Falsification to Authorities, this second-degree misdemeanor could result in:
- Up to 2 years in jail
- Up to a $5,000 fine
Pennsylvania Code of Crimes Title 18 Section 6111
Called Sale or Transfer of Firearms, this may be charged as a felony of the third degree if, while attempting to purchase or transfer a firearm, you:
- knowingly or intentionally give a false ID to the seller
- make a false oral statement
- make a false written statement on a gun purchase application form
This felony is punishable by:
- Up to 7 years in state prison
- A maximum possible fine of up to $15,000
These penalties are incredibly severe, especially if this was simply done by accident. If you are charged with this crime or believe you may be after being contacted by police, you need an experienced defense attorney to protect your rights.
A Philadelphia Defense Attorney At Your Side
When you have made a mistake or false statement on a gun application permit, and you face criminal charges, you deserve to have your rights protected. Joseph D. Lento is an experienced criminal defense attorney, who handles cases both on the criminal front, and at the administrative level to protect your job. If you are facing criminal charges, contact us today at 215-535-5353.