In general, you cannot purchase a firearm if you have been convicted of a felony. However, many individuals are unaware that a second DUI, or even a first degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania, may prevent you from buying a gun.
If you have a doubt about whether or not you can buy a firearm, you should consult with an attorney because if you try to buy a firearm and you’re not eligible, you might be charged with a crime for attempting to buy that handgun.
If handgun ownership is important to you and you are charged with a crime, consult with a criminal defense counsel. Some peculiarities exist in Pennsylvania that do not necessarily exist in other states. One is that in Pennsylvania, a first-degree misdemeanor is punished by up to five years in jail. According to federal gun laws, you cannot acquire a handgun if you have been convicted of a felony punishable by more than two years in jail. The issue here is that you do not have to spend more than two years in prison; that is not what the law states – Were you convicted of a crime punishable by more than two years?
The problem arises when someone is charged with a second DUI since a second DUI in Pennsylvania might be classified as a first-degree misdemeanor. For example, if you get a second DUI, there is a chance that you did not go to jail. Your counsel was able to negotiate a plea arrangement in which you were able to avoid prison time and were either subject to electronic home monitoring or probation for a length of time. So, after serving your probation, you go out and buy a handgun. Suddenly, if you try to buy a firearm, you’re looking at a felony charge because you tried to buy a firearm while being ineligible to do so.
People don’t understand that a second DUI may be a first-degree misdemeanor, which might prevent you from buying a gun.
If gun ownership is vital to you, you should consult with an attorney about the charges you are facing. For over 35 years, Bononi & Company has defended people charged with crimes in Westmoreland County. You may reach us at 724-832-2499 if you have any questions concerning your charges. We would be pleased to chat with you regarding the charges you are facing.