Many people are not aware that a conviction of violating Pennsylvania's or the laws of other states may implicate federal laws that limit a person's rights. With regard to domestic violence offenses, federal law, as set forth at 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9), prohibits a person from possessing a firearm or ammunition if they have been convicted of a "misdemeanor crime of violence." The term "misdemeanor crime of violence" as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(33) means the following:
- A misdemeanor under Federal, State, or Tribal law; AND
- Has an element that physical force was attempted or actually used, or a threat of use of a deadly weapon was made "by a current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse, parent, or guardian, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim."
Pennsylvania Simple Assault Charge
In Pennsylvania, there is no specific domestic violence charge for assaultive conduct. Instead, Pennsylvania only has the general misdemeanor assault offense called simple assault, in violation of 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 2701.
A charge of Simple Assault is filed in domestic violence cases in which the alleged perpetrator either injured or attempted to injure another person, or threatened injury with a deadly weapon. A simple assault conviction that involved a domestic violence "victim" as discussed above would prohibit the person from possessing a firearm. To determine what guns are included in the definition of "firearm," click here.
Restoration of Firearm Privileges
Federal law does state that a "conviction" no longer prohibits the possession of a firearm if the conviction is expunged, set aside, or the person has been pardoned. In Pennsylvania, a misdemeanor or felony conviction cannot be expunged or set aside.
The only way to restore a person's ability to possess a firearm after being convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor offense is to obtain a pardon. For more information about a Pennsylvania pardon, click here.
Call Us for Help Defending Your Second Amendment Rights
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor domestic violence offense, your Second Amendment rights are at risk. Call JD Law at 814-954-1094 or email us to discuss your options with an experienced lawyer in a free initial consultation.