American citizens are afforded the right to bear arms, but there are several restrictions to regulate legally purchasing a firearm.

In Pennsylvania, buying a gun often begins with a Federal Firearms Transaction Record Form (4473 form) and a Pennsylvania State Police Application/Record of Sale Form (SP 4-113).

As straightforward as completing a few forms seems, the details required and the wording of certain questions can create a lot of confusion. A misstep can not only result in being denied a firearm, but it can also land you in significant legal trouble and facing a gun charge.

If you have been accused of making false statements on a firearm application, call Philadelphia defense attorney Michael Fienman at (215) 839-9529 right away. He will review the situation, help protect your gun rights, and most importantly work to keep a firearms conviction ff your record.

If you live in Pennsylvania and want to buy a firearm from a dealer, you must first fill out an application. This in-depth form includes questions about your criminal history and is cross-checked against law enforcement records.

Lying on a Gun Form

If you make any false statements on your gun purchase application, you won’t just have your request denied. You may also face criminal prosecution for a felony.

This may seem excessive for a mistake on a government form, but this system is in place to keep guns out of the wrong hands. Therefore, abuses of the application system are not treated lightly.

For this reason, you should always consult with a Pennsylvania gun law attorney if you think your previous criminal record may prevent you from buying a firearm.

Common Mistakes on Gun Applications

The most common mistakes people make on gun purchase applications concern ownership limitations mandated by federal law. Specifically, under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), you are not allowed to own a firearm if you have a felony conviction or any of the following on your record:

Conviction for a Misdemeanor Punishable by More than One Year

Confusingly, 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20) excludes misdemeanor convictions that are “punishable by a term of imprisonment of two years or less.” The only Pennsylvania misdemeanor punishable by more than two years in jail is the first-degree misdemeanor (such as a third DUI offense), which is punishable by up to five years in jail.

When answering this question, the actual sentence you receive doesn’t matter. What matters is whether the judge could have sentenced you to two or more years behind bars.

Active Protection from Abuse (PFA) Order

Many people answer this question incorrectly on the gun purchase application because it does not explicitly ask about a “PFA.” Instead, the form asks about whether you are subject to a “court order” restraining you from contacting or harassing someone. Technically speaking, they are one and the same, but many people are unaware of this.

Misdemeanor Domestic Abuse Conviction

You may be barred from owning a firearm for a prior domestic violence conviction. Domestic violence consists of assault, battery, abuse, rape, or other violent conduct against a member of your family or household.

Have Questions About Your Record?

If you have doubts about whether any of the above applies to you, contact a lawyer before filling out any of the following forms:

  • Federal Firearms Transaction Record Form (the 4473 form)
  • Pennsylvania State Police Application/Record of Sale Form (SP 4-113)
  • Application for Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms

Can I be Charged for a Gun Application Mistake?

The answer is Yes.

Most people charged with a crime after attempting to buy a gun are shocked. Indeed, prosecutors often bring charges regardless of whether the applicant made a false statement by accident, or in a deliberate attempt to obtain a firearm. As a result, many well-meaning citizens find themselves in court after making an innocent mistake on a gun purchase application form that many people find confusing.

Who Investigates & When to Call a Lawyer?

The gun dealer runs the application against the state police computer database. If there is any inconsistency between the two, the gun purchase will be denied.

The gun dealer must then notify the state police. When the state police receive a copy of the gun application form, they can easily see where you made the misstatement or omission. At this point, the police will call and ask for an interview.

This interview might seem like a simple part of the application process; easily cleared up with a conversation. But it is actually quite serious – taken at your own risk.

If you do talk to the police, you will essentially be giving them crucial evidence in their case against you–even if you do not confirm that you made a misstatement. For instance, the police will likely gain an admission that you were, in fact, the person who filled out the form. This alone can give a prosecutor enough to bring charges, as your false statement is already evident from the conflict between the gun purchase application form and the police records.

Instead of voluntarily admitting guilt or complicating the situation further, you should hold tight and exercise your right to remain silent. Speaking with a lawyer first is your best option to deal with things quickly and effectively.

Penalties for False Statements on Gun Applications

If the police have evidence that you made a false statement on a gun purchase form, the prosecutor will probably charge you with violating these laws:

  • Pennsylvania Code of Crimes Title 18 Section 4904 – Unsworn Falsification to Authorities–Making a false statement with the “intent to mislead a public servant in performing his official function” is a misdemeanor of the second degree punishable by up to two years in jail and a $5,000 fine.
  • Pennsylvania Code of Crimes Title 18 Sec. 6111 – Sale or Transfer of Firearms–
    You can be charged with a felony of the third degree if in attempting to purchase or transfer a firearm, you knowingly and intentionally show a false ID to the seller, make a false oral statement, or make a false written statement on the gun purchase application form. Felonies of the third degree are punishable by seven years in prison and $15,000 in fines.

You may have simply wanted to purchase a new gun for a hunting trip and misinterpreted the questions being asked or were unaware that a plea agreement you made years before had disqualified you from purchasing a firearm. But as you can see, a conviction for making false statements on gun application forms can turn your life upside down.

Do not plead guilty and do not answer questions related to your application without talking to a skilled defense lawyer. An attorney will know how to articulate a mistake and show that the prosecutor lacks the evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you acted with the intent to deceive the authorities.

Contact Fienman Defense Today

If you are charged with making a false statement on a gun application or if the State Police has called you about a mistake on your purchase form, you need to talk to a lawyer now. Attorney Michael Fienman knows this can seem like a hassle for a mix-up, but by not taking this situation seriously, you’re only putting yourself at risk.

Attorney Fienman has considerable experience dealing with gun application disputes and charges stemming from false applications. We have successfully helped clear up confusion, avoid formal charges, and protected our clients’ ability to buy firearms. If you have questions about your application or eligibility, call (215) 839-9529 today to schedule a free consultation.

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