Articles Posted in Pennsylvania – Gun Trust Lawyer

On July 19 2014, Chief Counsel Joshua Prince and Attorney Eric Winter of Firearms Industry Consulting Group (FICG), a division of Prince Law Offices, P.C., in conjunction with The Sportsman’s Shop, will offer a four (4) hour seminar on state and federal firearms law at the Welsh Mountain Community Center, 564 Sandmine Road, New Holland PA 17557.

The cost is $10 and you must register by July 12, 2014. You can download a copy of the registration form, here. All registrations are to be mailed or dropped off at The Sportsman’s Shop, 101 West Main Street, New Holland PA 17557. If you have questions, please feel free to contact The Sportsman’s Shop at 717-354-4311 .

As more lawyers begin to dabble with Gun Trusts we are seeing many who do not understand firearms and their unique nature which can often involve criminal penalties related to the improper transfer, possession, and use related to firearms or ammunition.

While it is fine to transfer a pair or sox, coins, most personal property to your trust without doing anything other than assigning it, the transfer of restricted items like firearms or ammunition is a different matter. If you can sell a gun to an individual in your state without going through a dealer you should be able to transfer a firearm to your trust without going through dealer. This is the case in most states.

In a few states like California, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania where all personal transfers of some or all firearms must go through a background check, there may be no exception for transferring a firearm to a trust even if it is your own trust. Sure an argument could be made that there is no transfer and as such you should not have to go through a dealer, but why would one take the risk.

Thumbnail image for 50calsilencer.jpgWhile in some states, it is illegal to hunt with a Silencer, in the following states it is legal to hunt with a suppressor (often referred to as a “silencer”).

In states where hunting with suppressors have been legalized, we have seen substantial increases in the sales of suppressors and the wait times for approval from the ATF have also increased. Many states that have legalized suppressors still have CLEOs who refuse to sign for individuals to purchase them. An NFA Gun Trust or a more flexible Gun trust can not only avoid the CLEO signature requirement in most states, but can also provide many benefits to firearms owners and their families. To learn about the benefits, please fill out the contact us form at the top of this page and request information on what a gun trust is and how they may benefit you.

Remember these laws change frequently, so please verify this with your state prior to hunting with a suppressor.

If you have a NFA Firearms trust and live in Pennsylvania you should take the PA statute 2203 into consideration.  In Pennsylvania and many other states a surviving spouse has a right to an elective share of the decedent’s estate.  Generally these are around 1/3 but vary by state. 

The elective share is designed to make sure that the surviving spouse is not disinherited from the spouse when they die.  In PA the spouse is entitled to 1/3 of property owned by the decedent including property in a revocable trust.

It is possible to have your spouse waive their right in regards to a specific piece of property.  For those of you creating Gun trusts where the spouse is not a co-owner or a beneficiary, it would be wise to have the spouse waive their right to that property so that the property is sure to pass to your intended beneficiary.

Pennsylvania NFA Class 3 firearms
There are several type of Class 3 items that are restricted by the National Firearms Act.

Each state can impose additional restrictions on the sale, purchase, and transfer of class 3 firearms in addition to the compliance that is required with the national Firearms Act.

In Pennsylvania you can own the following items that are regulated the the National Firearms Act

Pennsylvania’s UFA: Crimes Committed with Firearms

    18 PA.C.S. § 6103 deals with crimes committed with firearms. Specifically, “If any person commits or attempts to commit a crime enumerated in section 6105 (relating to persons not to possess, use, manufacture, control, sell or transfer firearms) when armed with a firearm contrary to the provisions of this sub-chapter, that person may, in addition to the punishment provided for the crime, also be punished as provided by this sub-chapter.” (18 PA.C.S. § 6103).

Pennsylvania’s Firearm and Ammunition Preemption Clause

18 PA.C.S. § 6120 states, “No county, municipality or township may in any manner regulate the lawful ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of firearms, ammunition or ammunition components when carried or transported for purposes not prohibited by the laws of this Commonwealth.” This type of language is known as a Preemption Clause and denies all counties, municipalities and townships from regulating the ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of firearms or ammunition.  
Some may recognize that this section has recently been in the news in regards to several laws that the city of Philadelphia passed limiting the types of firearms that could be owned, as well as, other regulations on firearms ownership. For a discussion of the recent Philadelphia regulations, which are invalid, as well as other regulations in violation of 18 PA.C.S. § 6120.
Another interesting aspect to 18 PA.C.S. § 6120 is its limitation on right of action against gun and ammunition manufacturers. ” No political subdivision may bring or maintain an action at law or in equity  against any firearms or ammunition manufacturer, trade association or dealer for damages, abatement, injunctive relief or any other relief or remedy resulting from or relating to either the lawful design or manufacturer of firearms or ammunition of the lawful marketing or sale of firearms or ammunition to the public.” (18 PA.C.S. § 6120). However, “Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit a political subdivision from bringing or maintaining an action against a firearms or ammunition manufacturer or dealer for breach of contract or warranty as to firearms or ammunition purchased by the political subdivision.” (18 PA.C.S. § 6120)

To fully understand the limitations, one must look to the definition of a “political subdivision.” A political subdivision is defined as “any home rule charter municipality, county, city, borough, incorporated town, township or school district.” (18 PA.C.S. § 6120). Furthermore, a dealer is defined as “any person engaged in the business of selling at wholesale or retail a firearm or ammunition.” (18 PA.C.S. § 6120). Moreover, “firearms” is  to have the meaning given to it in 18 PA.C.S. § 5515 (relating to prohibiting of paramilitary training) but shall not include air rifles as that term is defined in 18 PA.C.S. § 6304 (relating to sale and use of air rifles).

Pennsylvania Uniform Firearm Acts

    PA’s firearm laws are consolidated in Title 18, Chapter 61, Sub Chapter A, which translates to 18 PA.C.S. § 6101 et seq. This sub-chapter is known as the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act of 1995 (PA UFA). (18 PA.C.S § 6101). Since the PA UFA has numerous sections, §§ 6101-6127, including subsets thereof, this article will set forth the sections of the PA UFA for quick reference purposes. Separate articles on each section will follow in the future. One of the most important sections is 18 PA.C.S. § 6120, which is a preemption section, denying any county, municipality, or township the power to regulates firearms other than the PA State Legislature.

18 PA.C.S. § 6101: Short Title of sub-chapter
18 PA.C.S. § 6102: Definitions
18 PA.C.S. § 6103: Crimes Committed with Firearms
18 PA.C.S. § 6104: Evidence of Intent
18 PA.C.S. § 6105: Persons not to Possess, Use, Manufacture, Control, Sell, or Transfer Firearms
18 PA.C.S. § 6105.1: Restoration of Firearm Rights for Offenses under Prior Laws of this     Commonwealth.
18 PA.C.S. § 6106: Firearms not to be Carried without a License
18 PA.C.S. § 6106.1: Carrying Loaded Weapons other than Firearms
18 PA.C.S. § 6107: Prohibited Conduct during Emergency
18 PA.C.S. § 6108: Carrying Firearms on Public Streets or Public Property in Philadelphia
18 PA.C.S. § 6109: Licenses
18 PA.C.S. § 6110: (Repealed. 1995 June 13, P.L. 1024 No. 17 (Spec. Sess. No. 1).
18 PA.C.S. § 6110.1: Possession of Firearm by Minor
18 PA.C.S. § 6110.2: Possession of Firearm with Altered Manufacturer’s Number
18 PA.C.S. § 6111: Sale or Transfer of Firearms
18 PA.C.S. § 6111.1: Pennsylvania State Police
18 PA.C.S. § 6111.2: Firearm Sales Surcharge
18 PA.C.S. § 6111.3: Firearm Records Check Fund
18 PA.C.S. § 6111.4: Registration of Firearms (No registration may be kept)
18 PA.C.S. § 6111.5: Rules and Regulations
18 PA.C.S. § 6112: Retail Dealer Required to be Licensed
18 PA.C.S. § 6113: Licensing of Dealer
18 PA.C.S. § 6114: Judicial Review
18 PA.C.S. § 6115: Loans on, or Lending or Giving Firearms Prohibited
18 PA.C.S. § 6116: False Evidence of Identity
18 PA.C.S. § 6117: Altering or Obliterating Marks of Identification
18 PA.C.S. § 6118: Antique Firearms
18 PA.C.S. § 6119: Violation Penalty
18 PA.C.S. § 6120: Limitation on the Regulation of Firearms and Ammunition (Preemption)
18 PA.C.S. § 6121: Certain Bullets Prohibited (use of a KTW Teflon coated bullet or other armor-    piercing ammunition during the commission of a crime, as set forth in 18 PA.C.S. § 6102)
18 PA.C.S. § 6122: Proof of License and Exception
18 PA.C.S. § 6123: Waiver of Disability or Pardons
18 PA.C.S. § 6124: Administrative Regulations
18 PA.C.S. § 6125: Distribution of Uniform Firearm Laws and Firearm Safety Brochures
18 PA.C.S. § 6126: Expired
18 PA.C.S. § 6127: Firearm Tracing

18 PA.C.S. § 6104 deals with what constitutes intent in relation to 18 PA.C.S. 6105, prohibited  persons. “In the trial of a person for committing or attempting to commit a crime enumerated in section 6105 (relating to persons not to possess, use, manufacture, control, sell or transfer firearms), the fact that that person was armed with a firearm, used or attempted to be used, and had no license to carry the same, shall be evidence of that person’s intention to commit the offense.” (18 PA.C.S. § 6104).

Pennsylvania’s UFA: Persons not to Possess, Use, Manufacture, Control, Sell, or Transfer Firearms

    18 PA.C.S. § 6105 deals with persons who cannot possess, use, manufacture, control, sell, or transfer firearms. It must be noted that this section applies to convictions that were both committed within and outside of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. (18 PA.C.S. § 6105). These prohibitions are broken down into two categories: 1. those persons who violate one of the enumerated offenses; and 2. those persons who fall into nine subcategories of non-enumerated offenses. There is also an exemption  clause which allows one who has been convicted of one of the enumerated offenses or certain non-enumerated offenses to petition the court of common pleas for relief. Moreover, any person who becomes a prohibited person has “a reasonable period of time, not to exceed 60 days from the date” of conviction. (18 PA.C.S. § 6105).
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