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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: January 19, 2017 11:05 AM
From: Representative Todd Stephens
To: All House members
Subject: Taking Aim at Violent Criminals --Juvenile Felons and Juvenile Drug Dealers
 

I will be re-introducing legislation (prior HB1497) to address juvenile drug dealers and firearms. Data from the Sentencing Commission shows that offenders with prior juvenile felony drug offenses are more likely than offenders with prior adult felony drug offenses to be re-arrested for a firearms offense, yet the penalties are substantially lower. My bill will enhance the penalties for those people who have (a) major criminal adjudication(s) and choose to illegally carry a firearm. These individuals are dangers to our communities and need to be punished accordingly.

To achieve this goal, I will be introducing legislation that will:
  • Close a loophole that makes it a mere misdemeanor for someone adjudicated of a disqualifying offense as a juvenile who subsequently carries an illegal firearm.These are serious offenses, and the penalty for this subsequent violation of the law should be graded as a felony of the third degree.Too often, throughout the Commonwealth, we have seen such individuals get away with probation because the penalty under current law is only a misdemeanor.
  • Provide that juveniles adjudicated of felony drug-dealing charges who subsequently possess an illegal firearm are prohibited from carrying a firearm for 15 years or until they reach the age of 30, whichever is earlier.Adults convicted of such a crime are prohibited from possessing firearms forever.At the very least, a juvenile adjudicated of felony drug charges should be prohibited from possessing a gun for this reasonable period of time.Those who possess an illegal firearm under this section of my legislation would receive a felony conviction.
Those who are disqualified under the law to carry a firearm because of a prior criminal conviction or adjudication but choose to do so anyway should face serious punishment. In other words, we should fashion legislation that targets criminals. My legislation will do just that.

This legislation is supported by the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association and others in the law enforcement community. I believe this is common-sense legislation to ensure the most violent dangerous criminals face appropriate and serious punishment.

Prior cosponsors: STEPHENS, BARRAR, REGAN, HEFFLEY, HARHART, MARSICO, TAYLOR, MURT, DeLUCA, D. COSTA, MOUL, WATSON, MILNE, FARRY, KORTZ and ENGLISH