Under Pennsylvania law, specific "offensive weapons" have been prohibited for use, ownership, repair, and sale. Making repairs or selling any weapon with this designation, or being accused of doing so, could result in lofty fines and imposing jail sentences. It is critical that you immediately retain a skilled Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney to review these charges and protect your rights. Lawmakers intend to protect the greater good by criminalizing these acts, but you may find yourself ensnared in unjustified charges if you were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, unknowingly handling items that are actually considered prohibited weapons. An experienced lawyer will listen to your side of the story and construct a compelling defense and/or find vulnerabilities in the prosecution's case against you. The first step is to reach out for a free consultation with criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento.
Repairing or selling an offensive weapon, whether you knew it was offensive or not, could endanger your freedom and subject you to criminal charges. The reason the repair and sale of these items is specifically criminalized is somewhat comparable to the way drug sales are criminalized. Those who are found in the possession of a drug are subject to lesser penalties than those who are accused of selling or intending to sell drugs because they are in effect propagating something illegal. A similar legal theory applies here. Because weapons are machines potentially in need of repairs, repair--although more innocent nature--is likewise subject to penalties. The goal is to limit the circulation of offensive weapons, not unlike the goal to limit the circulation of drugs.
What Are Offensive Weapons in Pennsylvania?
The following items are classed as "offensive weapons" in Pennsylvania, the possession of which for repair or sale could result in criminal charges.
- Stun guns
- Stun batons
- Shotguns with barrels shorter than 18 inches
- Metal Knuckles
- Machine Guns
- Firearms designed for silent discharge and/or concealment
- Knives or blade weapons/cutting instruments with a spring mechanism
By this logic, could you receive criminal charges for repairing a knife with a spring mechanism? Theoretically, yes. Luckily, any such charges could prove immaterial if you hire the right criminal defense attorney to scrutinize and combat them for you.
Penalties For Making Repairs To or Selling Offensive Weapons
If accused, you face as much as five years in prison and a jaw-dropping fine of $10,000.
Exceptions and Defenses to Making Repairs/Selling Offensive Weapon Charges
- It is a defense to your charges if your attorney can prove, by a preponderance of evidence, that you possessed or dealt with the weapon solely as a curio or in a dramatic performance.
- Not including bombs, grenades, or incendiary devices, it is a defense to your charges if you possessed an offensive weapon but dutifully complied with the National Firearms Act. (This generally applies to machine guns, permitting their lawful use/repair/sale when a number of federal guidelines are met.)
- You only possessed the offensive weapon briefly after having found it or taken it from an aggressor, or under any other circumstance similarly negating any perceived intent or likelihood that you intended to use the weapon unlawfully.
- Police forensic firearms experts or police forensic firearms laboratories are exempt from the provisions of this law. As are forensic firearms experts and forensic firearms laboratories operating in the ordinary course of business, as long as they annually notify in writing the police chief or sheriff of the locality that they are in possession of the weapon, and explain its intended use.
- The arrest for this offense violated your constitutional rights.
- The offensive item was uncovered by an unlawful search.
- Crucial evidence to the prosecution's case is inadmissible for reasons to be explored and unpacked by your criminal defense attorney.
- Your attorney can create reasonable doubt that you actually sold, repaired, or even had an offensive weapon in your possession. A number of arguments could be raised, such as a case of mistaken identity, the absence of intent, and many many more.
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney
An adept Pennsylvania defense attorney will review every detail of your case to determine if it falls under one of the legal exceptions. For this reason, it is important that you give your attorney all of the pertinent information in your case so they can construct a well-rounded defense with credible evidence to support their claims. A list of witnesses may also prove invaluable, depending on your case. You will be facing a determined if not overzealous prosecutor whose sole function is to get your behind bars for the offense they are convinced you committed. Consult with skilled Pennsylvania defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to learn more about the ways in which your charges can be fought and a defense can be crafted to fit the unique circumstances of your case. The sooner you speak with an attorney the better your chances of fending off these charges. Do not wait, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento now.