Anyone who has purchased a firearm understands that before doing so they’re required to fill out a standard-issued form—more or less a background survey—that firearms dealers are required to submit to the Pennsylvania State Police to ensure the buyer is a person eligible to possess a firearm.

This form is notoriously regarded as being confusing, and each year hundreds of people who mistakenly check a wrong box on this form find themselves on the wrong side of the law being charged under 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111(g)(4), a crime that is a third-degree felony.

Depending upon the circumstances, frequently charges of this sort can be worked out, short of trial, as part of a pre-trial diversion program or for a plea to the offense of unsworn falsification to authorities, 18 Pa.C.S. § 4904, a second-degree misdemeanor.

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