You have the “right to keep and bear arms” . . . until you don’t.

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution speaks of “the right of the people to keep and bears Arms, shall not be infringed.”  In recent years, the U.S. Supreme Court has had the occasion to interpret the Second Amendment, and in doing so the High Court has characterized the Second Amendment as being a “fundamental” right.  See McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010).  It is so fundamental, in fact, that the Court has incorporated its protections to extend to the States.

Yet despite the fundamental character of the “right to keep and bear arms,” that right is not without limits should you be accused and found guilty of certain offenses.  At least that is true in Pennsylvania.

In Pennsylvania, Section 6105 of the Crimes Code notes that a person’s conviction for certain offenses shall keep a person from possessing, using, controlling, selling, transferring, or manufacturing a firearm—or obtaining a license to do the same. (Under the law, the term “firearm” is defined to include any weapons which are designed to or may readily be converted to expel any projectile by the action of an explosive or the frame or receiver of any such weapon.)  Those offenses capable of restricting a person’s Second Amendment rights are as follows:

  • Section 908 (relating to prohibited offensive weapons).
  • Section 911 (relating to corrupt organizations).
  • Section 912 (relating to possession of weapon on school property).
  • Section 2502 (relating to murder).
  • Section 2503 (relating to voluntary manslaughter).
  • Section 2504 (relating to involuntary manslaughter) if the offense is based on the reckless use of a firearm.
  • Section 2702 (relating to aggravated assault).
  • Section 2703 (relating to assault by prisoner).
  • Section 2704 (relating to assault by life prisoner).
  • Section 2709.1 (relating to stalking).
  • Section 2716 (relating to weapons of mass destruction).
  • Section 2901 (relating to kidnapping).
  • Section 2902 (relating to unlawful restraint).
  • Section 2910 (relating to luring a child into a motor vehicle or structure).
  • Section 3121 (relating to rape).
  • Section 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse).
  • Section 3125 (relating to aggravated indecent assault).
  • Section 3301 (relating to arson and related offenses).
  • Section 3302 (relating to causing or risking catastrophe).
  • Section 3502 (relating to burglary).
  • Section 3503 (relating to criminal trespass) if the offense is graded a felony of the second degree or higher.
  • Section 3701 (relating to robbery).
  • Section 3702 (relating to robbery of motor vehicle).
  • Section 3921 (relating to theft by unlawful taking or disposition) upon conviction of the second felony offense.
  • Section 3923 (relating to theft by extortion) when the offense is accompanied by threats of violence.
  • Section 3925 (relating to receiving stolen property) upon conviction of the second felony offense.
  • Section 4906 (relating to false reports to law enforcement authorities) if the fictitious report involved the theft of a firearm as provided in section 4906(c)(2).
  • Section 4912 (relating to impersonating a public servant) if the person is impersonating a law enforcement officer.
  • Section 4952 (relating to intimidation of witnesses or victims).
  • Section 4953 (relating to retaliation against witness, victim or party).
  • Section 5121 (relating to escape).
  • Section 5122 (relating to weapons or implements for escape).
  • Section 5501(3) (relating to riot).
  • Section 5515 (relating to prohibiting of paramilitary training).
  • Section 5516 (relating to facsimile weapons of mass destruction).
  • Section 6110.1 (relating to possession of firearm by minor).
  • Section 6301 (relating to corruption of minors).
  • Section 6302 (relating to sale or lease of weapons and explosives).

There are further offenses and conditions capable of restricting a person’s Second Amendment rights, so, if you or a loved one are uncertain of the extent of your rights, it is important to consult the entirety of 18 Pa.C.S. § 6105, and applicable federal law, and discuss your concerns with a lawyer.