Eligibility to Purchase a Gun in Pennsylvania


man carrying a firearm

Generally speaking, if you are convicted of a felony you cannot purchase a firearm. But what a lot of people don’t realize is that a second DUI, or even a first degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania, can result in not being able to purchase a gun. 

If you have a question as to whether or not you can purchase a firearm, it is recommended that you speak to an attorney because if you try to purchase a firearm and you’re ineligible to purchase a firearm, then you can actually be charged with an offense for trying to purchase that firearm.

If firearm ownership is important to you, and you are being charged with a crime, speak to an attorney who practices criminal defense. There are some nuances in Pennsylvania that don’t necessarily exist in other states. One is that a first-degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania is punishable for up to five years in prison. The way the federal gun law reads is that if you are convicted of a crime that is punishable for greater than two years in prison, you cannot purchase a firearm. Now, the nuance there is that you don’t necessarily have to serve more than two years in jail; that’s not what the law says – Were you convicted of a crime that is punishable for greater than two years? 

Where the issue lies when someone is charged with a second DUI is the second DUI in Pennsylvania can be a first-degree misdemeanor. For example, if you have a second DUI, there is a chance that you did not go to jail. Your attorney was able to get some sort of plea agreement where you were able to stay out of jail, and you either had electronic home monitoring, or you were on probation for a period of time. So, after you serve your probation, you go and purchase a firearm. Suddenly, once you go purchase a firearm, you’re looking at a felony charge because you attempted to purchase a firearm when you are a person who is ineligible to do so. 

It’s something people don’t realize – that a second DUI can be a first-degree misdemeanor which could result in you not being able to purchase a firearm. 

If gun ownership is important to you, it’s important that you speak with an attorney about the charges that you are facing. Bononi & Company has represented individuals in Westmoreland County who have been charged with crimes for over 35 years. If you have a question about your charges, you can call us at 724-972-4180.  We are happy to speak to you about what charges you’re facing.


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