If you are a gun aficionado and have been convicted of a DUI in PA, you might be asking yourself: ‘Can I buy a handgun after my conviction?’ It seems like a very simple question, but state and federal laws regarding DUI convictions can dramatically impact your ability to own a gun.
The right to possess a firearm is one of our oldest and most revered individual rights. In all of the United States, the Constitution provides each citizen the right to own a gun. However, in PA, a DUI might mean that guns are just not going to be in your future.
You might not know it, but a DUI conviction in Pennsylvania can have far-reaching effects on your ability to purchase or possess a firearm. Before heading out to a gun shop or outfitter, ask yourself -‘Can I buy a handgun following a PA DUI?’ Take the time to learn the facts.
Under Pennsylvania law, a person who has been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance on three or more separate occasions within a five-year period cannot possess, use, control, sell, transfer or manufacture a firearm in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Furthermore, federal law also prohibits individuals with certain enumerated convictions from purchasing or possessing firearms. This means that, in addition to state laws restricting the ownership of guns following a PA DUI conviction, federal laws further preclude your rights.
Some misdemeanor of the first degree offenses are considered disabling offenses under federal law, meaning that a conviction will preclude an offender from possessing a gun. This can become a serious issue for someone facing their second or third conviction within ten years in Pennsylvania because a high B.A.C. offense (or refusal case) combined with a prior DUI charge may elevate the grading of a DUI offense from an ungraded misdemeanor to a misdemeanor of the first degree.
Because of the complexities in this area of the law, and the potentially devastating consequences that may arise if the issue is not correctly handled, it is critically important that a person accused of a PA DUI who is concerned about his or her gun rights contact a highly experienced DUI attorney to determine if their gun rights have been placed at risk by a arrest. Hiring an attorney experienced in defending charges is one of the most important first steps to take following arrest.