Making a False Statement on a Firearm Application in Pennsylvania

What Happens When You Make a False Statement on a Firearm Application in Pennsylvania?

False Statement Attempting to Purchase a FirearmPeople who attempt purchasing a gun from a dealer in Pennsylvania are required to complete an application that asks various questions about an applicant’s prior criminal history.

Most people think that if they answer a question wrong on the application, even if it was a mistake, it will be caught by the background check and they will simply be prevented from buying a gun. A “no harm no foul” argument.

However, applicants often do not know that a mistake on a gun application can, and almost always, leads to being criminally charged.

Charges Often Brought Against Applicants for Making False Statements on Firearm Applications

One charge is a felony offense of Sale or Transfer of Firearms for “knowingly and intentionally” making a materially false written statement in connection with the purchase, delivery, or transfer of a firearm.

Typically, the applicant is also charged with a misdemeanor offense of Unsworn Falsification to Authorities for making a false statement “which he does not believe to be true” with the “intent to mislead a public servant in performing his official function.”

Both of these charges allege that the person intentionally lied on the gun application in order to buy a gun, even though most times it is simply a mistake.

Prior Criminal History When Applying for a Firearm

The question that results in these charges being charged against an applicant most frequently is the question that asks if a person has ever been convicted of a felony or a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one-year.

For this question, it is important to know that in Pennsylvania, misdemeanors of the second degree carry a maximum sentence of two years, and a misdemeanor of the first degree carries a maximum of 5 years.

This means if you have been convicted of any crime that is a misdemeanor two or above, you must answer the above question with a “YES.” It does not matter that the actual sentence you received was less than a year or even only probation.

What Happens After You Are Charged with Making a False Statement?

The Criminal Attorneys at Ketchel Law are experienced in successfully handling cases in which a person attempts to purchase a firearm and is then charged with a crime.

Outcomes have included the criminal charges being dropped down to a summary offense citation or being dismissed all together.

If you, a friend or family member find themselves criminally charged after making a mistake on a gun application, call our attorneys at Ketchel Law so that our attorneys can help resolve this mistake.


Our experience and knowledge, along with our strong persuasive skills, allows us to provide you with the best possible defense.


If you have been charged with a crime, call us immediately so we can begin working with you on defending your rights.

Criminal Charges During Coronavirus / COVID-19 in Pennsylvania

What Happens When You are Arrested During COVID-19 in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania Courts Coronavirus Criminal ChargesKnow Your Rights to an arraignment, hearing and an attorney in the Pennsylvania court system

Around the globe, people are facing the pandemic of Coronavirus, or COVID-19, and are currently under social distancing restrictions.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court filed an order, effective until at least April 3, closing all courts to the public—including trial and intermediate appellate courts. Only “essential” court functions will continue.

So, what does that mean if you, a friend, or a loved one is arrested and detained in jail during this rare closure of the courts?

When someone is arrested and detained in jail for a crime they are required to be arraigned by a magisterial district court within 72 hours. The Supreme Court Order listed preliminary arraignments for bailable cases as an “essential function.”

Therefore, if you are arrested and detained in jail for a criminal charge during this court closure you still have the right to be seen by a judge within 72 hours to have your bail set.

A Pennsylvania criminal attorney can be present at such arraignment to make arguments for low and/or non-monetary bail.

Additionally, the Supreme Court Order listed preliminary hearings for incarcerated persons to be an “essential function.”

Therefore if someone has not made bail, or is currently incarcerated for any reason and has an upcoming preliminary hearing, the hearing will be held as scheduled. It is important that incarcerated defendants have the opportunity to be represented by counsel in these preliminary hearings.

Your Criminal Defense Attorney is an “Essential Service”

Ketchel Law is open, operating and happy to help anyone currently facing criminal charges during these unprecedented times.

When you need personalized attention and a tough Pittsburgh criminal lawyer, Attorney Justin Ketchel is here for you.

An arrest is not a conviction.




If you were arrested, call Attorney Ketchel for a free consultation. The sooner you call, the better your chances of having a strong defense to win your case or reduce the charges.