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Legal Statutes: Pennsylvania

UPDATED May 25, 2017

Pennsylvania Statutes

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Chapter 61. Protection from Abuse

back to top6108.3. Relinquishment to third party for safekeeping

(a) General rule.--A defendant who is the subject of a protection from abuse order, which order provides for the relinquishment of firearms, other weapons or ammunition during the period of time the order is in effect, may, within the time frame specified in the order and in lieu of relinquishment to the sheriff, relinquish any firearms, other weapons or ammunition to a third party for safekeeping.

(b) Transfer to third party.

(1) A defendant wishing to relinquish firearms, other weapons or ammunition to a third party pursuant to subsection (a) shall, within the time frame specified in the order for relinquishing firearms, other weapons and ammunition, report to the sheriff's office in the county where the order was entered along with the third party.

(2) Upon determination by the sheriff that the third party is not prohibited from possessing firearms, other weapons or ammunition pursuant to any Federal or State law and after the defendant and third party have executed the affidavits required under paragraph (3), the sheriff shall issue a safekeeping permit to the third party, which shall include, at a minimum, a list of the firearms, other weapons and ammunition which will be relinquished to the third party. The permit shall be issued at no cost to the third party or defendant. The permit shall require the third party to possess the defendant's firearms, other weapons and ammunition until the time that:
(i) the sheriff revokes the safekeeping permit pursuant to subsection (c)(1); or
(ii) the sheriff accepts return of the safekeeping permit pursuant to subsection (d).
(3)(i) A defendant wishing to relinquish firearms, other weapons or ammunition to a third party pursuant to subsection (a) shall, in the presence of the sheriff or the sheriff's designee, execute an affidavit on a form prescribed by the Pennsylvania State Police which shall include, at a minimum, the following:
(A) The caption of the case in which the protection from abuse order was issued.
(B) The name, address, date of birth and the Social Security number of the defendant.
(C) The name, address and date of birth of the third party.
(D) A list of the firearms, other weapons and ammunition which will be relinquished to the third party, including, if applicable, the manufacturer, model and serial number.
(E) An acknowledgment that the defendant will not take possession of any firearm, other weapon or ammunition relinquished to the third party until the sheriff accepts return of the safekeeping permit pursuant to subsection (d).
(F) A plain-language summary of 18 Pa.C.S. § 6105(a.1)(2) and (c)(6) (relating to persons not to possess, use, manufacture, control, sell or transfer firearms).
(G) A plain-language summary of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8) (relating to unlawful acts).
(ii) A third party who will be accepting possession of firearms, other weapons and ammunition pursuant to subsection (a) shall, in the presence of the sheriff or the sheriff's designee, execute an affidavit on a form prescribed by the Pennsylvania State Police which shall include, at a minimum, the following:
(A) The caption of the case in which the protection from abuse order was issued.
(B) The name, address and date of birth of the defendant.
(C) The name, address, date of birth and the Social Security number of the third party.
(D) A list of the firearms, other weapons and ammunition which will be relinquished to the third party, including, if applicable, the manufacturer, model and serial number.
(E) An acknowledgment that no firearm, other weapon or ammunition relinquished to the third party will be returned to the defendant until the sheriff accepts return of the safekeeping permit pursuant to subsection (d).
(F) A plain-language summary of 18 Pa.C.S. §§ 6105(a.1)(5) and (c)(6), 6111(c) (relating to sale or transfer of firearms) and 6115 (relating to loans on, or lending or giving firearms prohibited).
(G) A plain-language summary of this section.
(H) An acknowledgment that the third party is not prohibited from possessing firearms, other weapons or ammunition pursuant to any Federal or State law.
(I) An acknowledgment that the third party is not subject to an active protection from abuse order.
(J) An acknowledgment that the defendant has never been the subject of a protection from abuse order issued on behalf of the third party.
(K) An acknowledgment that any firearms, other weapons and ammunition relinquished to the third party will be stored using a locking device as defined in paragraph (1) of the definition of "locking device" in 18 Pa.C.S. § 6142(f) (relating to locking device for firearms) or in a secure location to which the defendant does not have access.
(L) A detailed description of the third party liability pursuant to this section relating to civil liability.
(M) An acknowledgment that the third party shall inform the sheriff of any change of address for the third party within seven days of the change of address.
(4) The defendant shall, within the time frame specified in the order and in lieu of relinquishment to the sheriff, relinquish the firearms, other weapons and ammunition specified in the affidavits provided to the sheriff pursuant to paragraph (3) to the third party who has been issued a safekeeping permit pursuant to paragraph (2). Upon relinquishment of the firearms to the third party, the third party shall sign an acknowledgment of receipt on a form prescribed by the Pennsylvania State Police, which shall include, at a minimum, an acknowledgment that the firearms were relinquished to the third party within the time frame specified in the order.
(5) Within 24 hours of the issuance of the safekeeping permit issued to the third party pursuant to paragraph (2) or by close of the next business day as necessary due to the closure of the sheriff's office, the defendant shall return the signed acknowledgment of receipt required under paragraph (4) to the sheriff in the county where the order was entered.

(6) If the defendant fails to provide the acknowledgment of receipt to the sheriff as required under paragraph (5), an affidavit prepared in accordance with section 6108(a)(7)(i)(B) (relating to relief), an affidavit under section 6108.2 (relating to relinquishment for consignment sale, lawful transfer or safekeeping) or fails to relinquish any firearms, other weapons or ammunition, the sheriff shall, at a minimum, provide immediate notice to the court, the plaintiff and appropriate law enforcement agencies.

(c) Revocation of safekeeping permit.--

(1) The sheriff shall revoke a third party's safekeeping permit and require the third party to relinquish to the sheriff any firearms, other weapons or ammunition which were relinquished to the third party by a defendant pursuant to subsection (a) upon determining or being notified that any of the following apply:
(i) A protection from abuse order has been entered against the third party.
(ii) The third party is prohibited from possessing firearms, other weapons or ammunition pursuant to any Federal or State law.
(iii) The defendant has been convicted of a violation of 18 Pa.C.S. Ch. 61 (relating to firearms and other dangerous articles) or any other offense involving the use of a firearm.
(iv) The defendant has been held in indirect criminal contempt for violating a provision of the protection from abuse order consistent with section 6108(a)(1), (2), (6), (7) or (9) (relating to relief).
(2) Upon revocation of a safekeeping permit, the sheriff shall seize the safekeeping permit and all of the defendant's firearms, other weapons and ammunition which were relinquished to the third party. If revocation of the safekeeping permit was:
(i) Required pursuant to paragraph (1)(i) or (ii), the sheriff shall notify the defendant that the firearms, other weapons and ammunition which were relinquished to the third party are in the sheriff's possession and that the defendant may report to the sheriff's office in order to relinquish the firearms, other weapons and ammunition to a subsequent third party pursuant to this section or to a licensed dealer pursuant to section 6108.2.
(ii) Required pursuant to paragraph (1)(iii) or (iv), the sheriff shall maintain possession of the firearms, other weapons and ammunition until the defendant is no longer prohibited from possessing firearms, other weapons and ammunition pursuant to any Federal or State law unless:
(A) the defendant has the firearms, other weapons and ammunition relinquished to a licensed dealer pursuant to section 6108.2; or
(B) the sheriff is directed to relinquish the firearms, other weapons and ammunition pursuant to a court order.
(d) Return of safekeeping permit.--
(1) Following expiration of a protection from abuse order, which order provided for the relinquishment of firearms, other weapons or ammunition, the defendant and the third party shall report to the sheriff's office to return the safekeeping permit. Upon a determination by the sheriff that the defendant is:
(i) Not prohibited from possessing firearms, other weapons and ammunition, the sheriff shall accept the return of the safekeeping permit, and the third party shall relinquish to the defendant all of the defendant's firearms, other weapons and ammunition which were relinquished to the third party pursuant to this section.
(ii) Prohibited from possessing a firearm, other weapon or ammunition pursuant to any Federal or State law, the sheriff shall accept return of the permit and seize from the third party all of the defendant's firearms, other weapons and ammunition which were relinquished to the third party pursuant to this section. The sheriff shall return to the defendant any firearm, other weapon or ammunition which the defendant is lawfully entitled to possess.
(2) Upon issuance of a court order pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. § 6105(f)(2) or section 6108.1(b) (relating to return of relinquished firearms, other weapons and ammunition and additional relief) which modifies a valid protection from abuse order by allowing the defendant to take possession of a firearm, other weapon or ammunition that had previously been ordered relinquished, the defendant and the third party shall report to the sheriff's office to return the safekeeping permit. The sheriff shall proceed as directed by the court order.
(3) If a third party wishes to relinquish the defendant's firearms, other weapons and ammunition prior to return of the safekeeping permit pursuant to paragraph (1), the sheriff shall accept return of the safekeeping permit and shall seize all of the defendant's firearms, other weapons and ammunition from the third party. The sheriff shall notify the defendant that the firearms, other weapons and ammunition which were relinquished to the third party are in the sheriff's possession and that the defendant may relinquish the firearms, other weapons and ammunition to a subsequent third party pursuant to this section or to a licensed dealer pursuant to section 6108.2.
(e) Civil liability.--A third party who intentionally or knowingly violates any of the provisions of this section shall, in addition to any other penalty prescribed in this chapter or 18 Pa.C.S. Ch. 61, be civilly liable to any person for any damages caused thereby and, in addition, shall be liable to any person for punitive damages in an amount not to exceed $5,000, and the court shall award a prevailing plaintiff a reasonable attorney fee as part of the costs.

(f) Forms.--The Pennsylvania State Police shall develop and make available:
(1) Forms to be used by sheriffs to issue safekeeping permits pursuant to subsection (b)(2).
(2) Affidavit forms and receipt forms to be used by defendants and third parties as required under subsection (b)(3) and (4).
(g) Transfer upon final entry.--
A defendant who has previously relinquished firearms, other weapons or ammunition to the sheriff pursuant to a temporary order shall be permitted to have the firearms, other weapons and ammunition relinquished to a third party pursuant to this section following entry of a final protection from abuse order, which order provides for the relinquishment of firearms, other weapons or ammunition during the period of time the order is in effect.

(h) Nondisclosure.--All copies of the safekeeping permit issued under subsection (b)(2) retained by the sheriff and the affidavits and forms obtained under subsection (b)(3) and (4) shall not be subject to access under the act of June 21, 1957 (P.L. 390, No. 212), [FN1] referred to as the Right-to-Know Law.

(i) Definitions.--As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

"Safekeeping." The secure custody of firearms, other weapons or ammunition which were ordered relinquished by an active protection from abuse order.


"Third party." A person, other than the defendant, who:
(1) Is not a member of the defendant's household.
(2) Is not prohibited from possessing firearms pursuant to any Federal or State law.

History

2005, Nov. 10, P.L. 335, No. 66, § 9, effective in 180 days [May 9, 2006].