by: Stephen Sebald
If you decide you want to purchase a handgun in Pennsylvania the process is fairly simple: all you have to do is walk into a gun shop, pick out the firearm you want, fill out some paperwork, wait a few minutes for the background check to clear, and pay for the gun. It sounds easy, but filling out the paperwork can cause difficulties—especially if you lie. The required documentation is simple enough, requesting your name, current address, place of birth, other personal information like your height and weight, and questions about your background. These inquiries are very important in determining whether you’ll be permitted to purchase the handgun. This paperwork is known as Form 4473, and has a lot of detailed instructions that are helpful to assist you in ensuring that your answers are accurate.
Making a false statement on this form is a felony under federal law and is also subject to state law, with potential penalties ranging from 5 to10 years in prison along with hefty fines ranging from a few hundred to thousands if you are caught falsifying information. Lying on this form could prevent you from ever applying to purchase a handgun again because of the federal Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act.
Under the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act, any of the following can bar you from being able to purchase a firearm:
- If you were dishonorably discharge from the U.S. Armed Forces;
- If you use any controlled dangerous substance illegally
- If you have renounced your U.S. citizenship
- If you are an illegal alien living in America
- If you have a restraining order against you or were convicted of domestic violence
- If you were convicted of a crime punishable by being in prison for more than one year
- If you are a fugitive
While it may seem tempting in the moment, it’s not worth it to purposely lie on Form 4473. The consequences are severe and they can keep you from ever purchasing a firearm. If you have any concerns about filling out the form accurately, or if you have been charged with lying on the form, call an experienced defense attorney immediately. There is a distinct difference between purposely lying on the form and mistakenly providing inaccurate information. Each situation and reasoning is different, which is why it is necessary to seek legal assistance if you have concerns or are facing a criminal charge.
At the Sebald, Hackwelder, & Knox, we have the experience needed to help you fight against your firearms related issue. Whether a federal charge, state, or both, we have years of practice and knowledge of both laws and can strategically work with you to create strong defenses. Possible outcomes include a reduced charge or even a dismissal. As aggressive courtroom attorneys, Stephen Sebald and Eric Hackwelder are who you want defending you in a criminal case. Call today and see what we can do for your specific situation: (814) 833-1987.