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Legal Information: Pennsylvania

State Gun Laws

December 15, 2023

If the abuser's gun is taken away, what will happen to it?

If the abuser is ordered to give up his/her guns at the court hearing for a final PFA, s/he must give them up within 24 hours of the time the judge makes the order. In the case of an ex parte temporary order, s/he must give them up within 24 hours of the time s/he receives a copy of the order.1 The abuser can give the guns to the local sheriff, to a “third party” for safekeeping, or to a licensed dealer for safekeeping or sale. If the abuser gives his/her guns to the sheriff or to a third party, that person will keep them until the PFA expires. If the abuser gives them to a licensed dealer, s/he can ask that the dealer to keep them until the PFA expires, or s/he can ask that the dealer sell them.Note: The “third party” must be the abuser’s attorney or a commercial armory.2

Once a temporary or final protection from abuse order has been dismissed or expires, the abuser would fill out a “weapons return form” and submit it to the sheriff or other law enforcement agency. You are then supposed to be notified that the abuser has requested to have his/her firearms, other weapons or ammunition returned.3

However, if a person is prohibited from having guns due to another reason other than having a protection from abuse order against him/her, s/he has up to 60 days to sell or transfer them to another eligible person who is not a member of same household​.​4

1 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 6108(a)(7)
2 23 Pa.C.S.A. §§§ 6108.3; 6108.2; 6108.1
3 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 6108.1(a), (a.2)
4 18 Pa.C.S.A. §​ 6105(a)(2)(i)