Philadelphia Criminal Lawyers

Weapons Offenses

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution provides that Americans have the right to bear arms. However, this is not an unrestricted right. Each state can place limitations on residents’ access to weapons. Pennsylvania is tough on weapons offenses, and if an individual violates any of these restrictions, they may face serious penalties including jail time and collateral consequences that can haunt them for decades. To avoid these consequences, the experienced Philadelphia criminal lawyers at the Law Offices of Patrick G. Geckle LLC can help build a defense strategy and potentially avoid a conviction.


Common weapons include handguns, rifles, shotguns, and automatic weapons; however, firearms are not the only weapons that a person can be charged with unlawfully possessing. In certain circumstances, almost anything could be considered a weapon. Courts tend to look at the context in which an item is used. For example, carrying a baseball bat at a baseball game may be benign, but carrying a bat in other settings at different times could land you in trouble. Other common weapons include knives, pellet guns, stun guns, and switchblades.

Common Weapons Offenses

Some of the more common weapons offenses and gun crimes in Pennsylvania include:

Unlawful Possession

In Pennsylvania, individuals who have been convicted of a felony cannot own weapons. Even if the felony was nonviolent (e.g., certain drug convictions), you may still be prohibited from carrying a firearm. Individuals who are the subject of an active protection order are also prohibited from carrying a firearm in Pennsylvania. In addition, certain types of weapons, such as guns with filed off serial numbers, are always illegal to possess.

Possession of Firearms with an Altered Serial Number

Possessing a defaced weapon can warrant serious charges, even if you were not the one who removed or altered the weapon’s serial number. This crime is considered a second-degree felony and carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

Carrying a Concealed Weapon Without a License

If you are convicted of possessing a concealed weapon, whether in your car or in public, you may face between five to seven years in prison depending on whether the weapon is licensed to you or not. Carrying a firearm without a license is a third degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine. If you would have been eligible for a license and have a clear criminal record, you still face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted.

Intention to Use a Firearm During Criminal Activity

It is a first-degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania to use a firearm or weapon to carry out a criminal activity, such as a robbery. If you are convicted, you may face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine—even if the gun was not loaded or you never actually used the weapon in your possession.

Illegal Sale of Firearms

Gun shop owners who violate the 48-hour waiting period when selling a firearm face a second-degree misdemeanor conviction. Selling a firearm to a minor is a first-degree misdemeanor.

Weapons on School Property

Guns and weapons are prohibited on school property for both public and private elementary schools, as well as secondary schools licensed by the Department of Education. Weapons include any instrument capable of inflicting serious bodily injury. Violating this law is a first-degree misdemeanor, and if convicted, offenders face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Philadelphia Criminal Lawyers at the Law Offices of Patrick G. Geckle LLC Defend Individuals Charged with Weapons Offenses

If you have been charged with unlawful possession of weapons, the experienced Philadelphia criminal lawyers at the Law Offices of Patrick G. Geckle LLC will work tirelessly to reduce charges against you, or help you avoid a conviction. If you are a first time offender, we can try to negotiate your acceptance into a Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 215-735-3326 or toll-free at 800-555-7780. With offices located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Delaware County, Montgomery County, Bucks County, and Chester County.