Have Guns, Will Travel? Not in Pennsylvania.

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Nov 23, 2020 | 0 Comments

In the week after election day 2020, police arrested two Chesapeake, Virginia men near a Philadelphia absentee vote-counting location, allegedly armed with firearms not licensed in Pennsylvania. Law enforcement reported that the men drove from the Virginia Beach area to Philadelphia in a silver Hummer decorated with stickers supporting the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory. Before the arrest, the FBI in Norfolk, Virginia, received a tip, “stating that individuals were in route (sic) from Virginia Beach to Philadelphia in a silver Hummer truck and were in possession of weapons and ammunition.”

Police found the Hummer parked steps from the Philadelphia Convention Center while Pennsylvania election officials counted absentee ballots inside. After Philadelphia police detained the suspects, they found an AR-style rifle with no serial number in the Hummer. Both men were also allegedly armed with handguns not licensed in Pennsylvania. While one of the suspects reportedly indicated that he had a permit to carry a concealed handgun in Virginia, Pennsylvania does not recognize Virginia permits. The men later reportedly indicated they traveled to Pennsylvania because they were concerned about absentee ballot-counting in Philadelphia.

The men were arraigned on November 6th on charges of having a concealed firearm without a license and carrying a firearm on a public street or public property. A judge set bail for each man at $750,000.

Carrying a Concealed Firearm Without a License

In Pennsylvania, carrying a concealed firearm without a license is a first-degree misdemeanor if the person carrying the gun is eligible to obtain a license and hasn't committed any other crime. Otherwise, this crime is a third-degree felony. See 18 Pa. Crim. Code §§ 6106(a)(1), (a)(2) (2008).

Carrying a Firearm on a Public Street

In Pennsylvania, carrying a firearm on a public street is prohibited. The law states, “No person shall carry a firearm, rifle or shotgun at any time upon the public streets or upon any public property in a city of the first class unless” they have a license to carry the firearm or are exempt from licensing requirements. 18 Pa. Crim. Code § 6108 (2011).

A first-degree misdemeanor can result in up to five years in prison plus a $10,000 fine. A third-degree felony conviction can result in up to seven years in prison and fines of up to $15,000.

While there are exceptions to limitations on carrying a firearm without a license, they apply to law enforcement, military members, bank security, gun repair and manufacturing, traveling to and from firearms practice, hunting, moving, recovering stolen property, and similar exceptions.

Pennsylvania's law prohibiting carrying a firearm without a license doesn't apply to anyone carrying a firearm licensed in another state in their vehicle regardless of whether Pennsylvania offers reciprocity for that state's license. So, the police won't charge you with a crime for simply traveling through Pennsylvania with a firearm licensed in another state. But if you're planning to carry an unlicensed firearm on you in Pennsylvania, you'd better think again.

Hire an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

If you're facing firearms charges in Pennsylvania, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney. There can be long-term consequences affecting your employment, housing, and even future educational prospects for a felony or misdemeanor firearms charge. Our Criminal Law Team has years of experience in the Pennsylvania criminal justice system, and we can fight for you. Contact the LLF Law Firm at 888-535-3686 to discuss your options.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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The LLF Law Firm Team has decades of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the LLF Law Firm today! Our Criminal Defense Team will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

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