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.