The following is a video transcript.
It’s that time of year where family comes and visits. Now, there are great members of the family and there are some people that might have lived through some difficulties in the past. Whatever their scenario is, they are a prohibited person. They are a family member coming over, and perhaps they are even staying over for the night.
Let’s say that you have a really great gun collection. Do you have to gather them all up and get them out of the house completely because Cousin Richie is coming over and he is a prohibited person? The answer to that is, “No.” You are under absolutely no duty or obligation to change your life whatsoever in that type of scenario. It is on the person who cannot use, possess, own, or transfer a firearm to monitor the situation.
So, you do not have to gather up your guns and secret them away. You do not even have to lock them up. However, you cannot knowingly transfer (meaning give, let them hold, let them see, let them manipulate, let them possess, or let them have a gun) if you know that they are a prohibited person.
So, if Cousin Richie sees your collection, and says, “Oh my God, that is the most beautiful engraving I have ever seen. It’s absolutely exquisite. Can I hold it just to look at it?” The answer to that is, “No.” You cannot knowingly give it to them to possess (and possession includes actual possession, meaning holding onto it).
Another scenario that comes into play is: you like to keep a firearm inside your car. Can you give the keys to Cousin Richie, a former felon, to go run and get milk, knowing that there is a gun inside the car? Will you personally be criminally liable? And the answer to that is the same, which is: you cannot knowingly give, transfer, or allow possession of a firearm to a prohibited person. That is both federal and state law. You just cannot do it.
The next question is: in civil liability, can you be sued if Cousin Richie gets hold of a gun? The answer to that depends on what ultimately happens. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania states under Negligence Theory that you are negligent in allowing a third party to possess a gun that you know or should have known will create an unreasonable risk of harm.
Those are some things to consider when former felons or prohibited people visit your house in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
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