Pennsylvania law penalizes:

  • Anyone who knowingly and intentionally makes any materially false oral or written statement in connection with the purchase, delivery or transfer of a firearm, including a statement on any form promulgated by federal or state agencies;1
  • Anyone who willfully furnishes or exhibits any false identification intended or likely to deceive the seller, licensed dealer or licensed manufacturer in connection with the purchase, delivery or transfer of a firearm;2
  • Any seller who knowingly or intentionally sells, delivers or transfers a firearm under circumstances intended to provide a firearm to any person who is unqualified or ineligible to possess a firearm under Pennsylvania law;3 and
  • Any seller who delivers a firearm in violation of the requirements of Pennsylvania law and “who has reason to believe that the firearm is intended to be used in the commission of a crime or attempt to commit a crime.” This person may be held civilly and criminally liable for the crime or attempted crime.4

Pennsylvania law requires any licensed dealer, importer, or manufacturer who intends to transfer a handgun or short-barreled rifle or shotgun to utilize an “application/record of sale” which contains the following question:

Are you the actual buyer of the firearm(s), as defined under 18 Pa.C.S. § 6102 (relating to definitions), listed on this application/record of sale?  Warning: You are not the actual buyer if you are acquiring the firearm(s) on behalf of another person, unless you are legitimately acquiring the firearm as a gift for any of the following individuals who are legally eligible to own a firearm: (1) spouse; (2) parent; (3) child; (4) grandparent; or (5) grandchild.5

A person violating these provisions who has already been convicted under them previously (in other words, a repeat offender), receives an enhanced punishment under Pennsylvania law.6

Upon confiscating or recovering a firearm from the possession of anyone who is not permitted by federal or state law to possess a firearm, Pennsylvania law requires a local law enforcement agency to use the best available information, including a firearms trace where necessary, to determine how and from where the person gained possession of the firearm.7

In 2008, Pennsylvania established a “Straw Purchase Prevention Education Program,” within the state Attorney General’s office to provide resources and direct grant money for an educational and public service outreach program to inform individuals of the illegal nature of purchasing a firearm for an individual prohibited from owning firearms.8  However, the program had to be developed by a not-for-profit organization which:

  • Is a national trade association representing the shooting, hunting and firearm industry;
  • Has a membership consisting of firearm manufacturers, firearm distributors, firearm retailers, publishers and sportsmen’s organizations; and
  • Had been in existence for at least 45 years prior to the enactment of the program.9

See our Firearms Trafficking policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111(g)(4)(i), (ii). ⤴︎
  2. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111(g)(4)(iii). ⤴︎
  3. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111(g)(2). ⤴︎
  4. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111(g)(5), (6). ⤴︎
  5. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111(b)(1). ⤴︎
  6. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111(h). ⤴︎
  7. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6127. To comply with this requirement, local law enforcement must use the National Tracing Center of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6127(b). ⤴︎
  8. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §§ 6181- 6187. ⤴︎
  9. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6184(b). ⤴︎