6108.1. Return of relinquished firearms, other weapons and ammunition and additional relief
(a) General rule.–Any court order requiring the relinquishment of firearms, other weapons or ammunition shall provide for the return of the relinquished firearms, other weapons or ammunition to the defendant upon expiration of the order or dismissal of a petition for a protection from abuse order. The defendant may take custody of the firearms, other weapons and ammunition provided that the defendant is otherwise eligible to lawfully possess the relinquished items. The defendant shall not be required to pay any fees, costs or charges associated with the returns, whether those fees, costs or charges are imposed by the Pennsylvania State Police, any local law enforcement agency or any other entity, including a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer or licensed dealer in order to secure return of the relinquished firearms, other weapons or ammunition. The sheriff’s or the appropriate law enforcement agency’s office shall maintain a weapons return form that the defendant may fill out and return to the office once a temporary or final protection from abuse order has been dismissed or expires.
(a.1) Conditions for return.–The following conditions must be satisfied prior to the firearms, other weapons or ammunition being returned to the defendant:
(1) The firearms, other weapons or ammunition relinquished must not be evidence of a crime.
(2) The defendant or owner must not be otherwise prohibited by applicable Federal or State law, or another condition, including, but not limited to, bail, from taking possession of the firearms, other weapons or ammunition seized.
(3) The defendant or owner must have been given a clearance by the Pennsylvania State Police Instant Check System Unit or through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), requested by the sheriff’s office.
(a.2) Notice to plaintiff.–The plaintiff of the protection from abuse order shall be notified of the defendant’s request to return the firearms, other weapons or ammunition.
(a.3) Petition for return.–If there is a determination under subsection (a.1) that the defendant is ineligible to regain possession of the firearms, other weapons or ammunition, the defendant or owner may file a petition appealing that determination and seeking their return. A copy of the petition must be served upon the plaintiff, sheriff and the district attorney.
(a.4) Abandonment.–Any firearms, other weapons or ammunition shall be deemed abandoned when the conditions under 18 Pa.C.S. § 6128(a) (relating to abandonment of firearms, weapons or ammunition) are satisfied and may then be disposed of in accordance with 18 Pa.C.S. § 6128.
(b) Modification of court’s order providing for return of relinquished firearm, other weapon or ammunition.–Any other person may petition the court to allow for the return of that other person’s firearms, other weapons and ammunition prior to the expiration of the court’s order. The petition shall be served upon the plaintiff, and the plaintiff shall be given notice and an opportunity to be heard regarding that petition.
(c) Modification of court’s order to provide for alternative means of relinquishing firearms, other weapons or ammunition.–The defendant may petition the court for modification of the order to provide for an alternative means of relinquishment in accordance with this chapter. The petition shall be served upon the plaintiff, and the plaintiff shall have an opportunity to be heard at the hearing as provided in subsection (d). Where the court orders a modification pursuant to this subsection providing for alternative means of relinquishment, the sheriff shall proceed as directed by the court.
(d) Hearing.–Within ten business days of the filing of any petition under this section, a hearing shall be held before the court.
(e) Definitions.–As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:
“Other person.” Any person, except the defendant, who is the lawful owner of a firearm, other weapon or ammunition relinquished pursuant to this chapter.“Safekeeping.” The secure custody of a firearm, other weapon or ammunition ordered relinquished by an active protection from abuse order.