WHAT CONSTITUTES A WEAPON?
A “weapon” is defined as “anything readily capable of causing death or injury". This includes firearms (both loaded and unloaded), knives, box cutter, axe, crowbar and yes, even a pen. As many of you are aware, the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution allows most citizens the right to keep and bear arms. However, this right is by no means absolute and carries with it many constraints which, if not adhered to, can carry hefty penalties, as you will soon see.
FIREARMS NOT TO BE CARRIED WITHOUT A LICENSE
In Pennsylvania, most persons are permitted to carry a concealed weapon (specifically a firearm) while in their home or in their place of business. However, carrying a firearm on the street or on any public property in the city “concealed” becomes a crime when it is “carried” in any vehicle or concealed on the person’s body without having first obtained a valid and lawfully issued license or permit to carry. If the prosecution determines that you are “otherwise eligible” to receive a license yet, simply have not obtained one, then the charge should be reduced to a misdemeanor of the first degree which carries a possible penalty of 2 ½ to 5 years in a state correctional institution. Otherwise, you are looking at a felony of the third degree which means possibly 3 ½ to 7 years inside of a state correctional institution.
PERSONS NOT TO CARRY A FIREARM
In Pennsylvania, persons under 18 years of age are not permitted to possess or transport a firearm anywhere in Pennsylvania unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian or they are hunting (animals not people). It is a felony of the second degree to “possess use, manufacture, control, sell or transfer” a firearm if you have been convicted of any of the 30 or so offenses enumerated under §6105 of the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act of 1995. Some of these offenses include: aggravated assault, murder, stalking, kidnapping, burglary, robbery, rape, dui, witness intimidation, possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute. Therefore, you could be facing 5 to 10 years in a state correctional institution if you are caught while in possession of a firearm and you have been previously convicted of a prohibited offense as identified by our state legislature.