How a Gun Charge Conviction Could Upend Your Life

The rise in gun violence is bound to tighten the charges for misuse of firearms. Illegal possession or use of a firearm constitutes a severe offense in several states. Philadelphia is one of the counties with the strictest laws in Pennsylvania. State courts handle most of the felony convictions.

Gun violence convictions range from a lengthy jail time of up to twenty-four years to heavy fines that take a long time to pay. These could set an individual back financially, while jail time holds back one’s progress in life and affects their career and family relationships.

What Constitutes a Gun Violation?

Various acts constitute a gun violation. They include illegal:

  • Possession of a firearm: This means owning and carrying an unlicensed weapon.
  • Use of a gun: Using a gun to shoot at a person or non-living thing is subject to conviction.
  • Sales: Sell firearms without a license or sell to underage or felons.
  • Manufacturing: Manufacturing weapons without authorization.
  • Transportation: Transporting guns without licenses from the U.S. or other nations.

Consequences of Illegal Possession of a Gun

The sentences vary through different states and the form of violation one commits. In some cases, the evidence or motive is unclear; hence, the ruling might be less harsh. However, the general punishments include incarceration, fines, and probation.


Incarceration includes a minor charge of possessing a prohibited firearm. It might not involve jail time unless in cases involving gun use in a crime. However, the average jail time ranges from 6 months to 1 year. For felons, this could extend up to ten years.


Fines differ for misdemeanor and felon convictions. A misdemeanor fine can go up to a thousand dollars, while felon fines might run up to fifteen thousand dollars or more. Philadelphia county gun offenses lawyers can defend you in court to reduce sentencing or fines.


Probation requires a person to commit to not engaging in criminal activities. In some cases, the time ranges from 6 months to up to thirty-six months. A probation officer observes the criminal closely. The offender risks going to jail if they fall back on their commitment.

Acquiring a Gun Legally

The only way to acquire a gun legally is by applying for a permit. However, one must be eligible to qualify for gun ownership. Know the state and county laws regarding gun possession before making an application to purchase. Past convictions or a history of drug abuse and mental health instability might disqualify a person.

If one is legible, they apply for a permit at the Licenses and Inspections Unit of the Police Department. In Philadelphia, the Attorney General’s Office for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania gives the final review on the legibility of the individual. Illegibility could result from unclear or inconsistencies in the application.

Denial of a Firearm Ownership

In case the office of the Attorney General denies an individual’s application, they can appeal. They can hire a lawyer and file an appeal. The appeals must be in writing and be consistent and contradictory to the allegations for denial.

In some states, gun laws are stricter. An appeal might not always guarantee a win. However, one can reapply after a period of time. One should restrain from using a firearm if they have an ongoing case. This could constitute aggravated assault or burglary, which adds to the allegations.

Final Thoughts

Federal law protects the right to gun ownership. Every American of sound mind and a good record is legible. However, the laws around it are strict to protect individual lives and rights. Gun violation could lead to revoking the permit and a long-term bar from owning a gun.

You have a right to contact a lawyer to assist with your case. If proven innocent, the permit could be reinstated. Lawyers can also get an individual a milder sentence if they are found guilty.

Leland D. Bengtson

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As a journalist, Leland D. Bengtson dedicated most of his career to law reporting. His greatest satisfaction is to convey legal matters to the public in a language that they can understand. He is active on various platforms and media outlets, writing about common legal issues that people confront with every day. While medical malpractice is his strong suit, Leland covers plenty of other topics, including personal injury cases, family law, and other civil and even criminal legal matters.

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