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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: January 7, 2015 01:36 PM
From: Senator Vincent J. Hughes
To: All Senate members
Subject: Co-sponsor memo #20 – Uniform Firearms Act – Attempt, Conspiracy and Solicitation
In the near future, I will be reintroducing SB 661 of the 2013-14 legislative session. This legislation amends the Uniform Firearms Act (“UFA”) to expand the list of criminal convictions that disqualify a person from possessing, using, manufacturing, controlling, selling or transferring a firearm to include convictions for conspiracy, attempt, and solicitation to commit such crimes.

18 Pa.C.S. §6105(b) enumerates approximately 38 specific crimes that disqualify a person from legally owning a firearm in Pennsylvania. However, the law does not explicitly make convictions for conspiracy, attempt or solicitation to commit those crimes disqualifying offenses unless the underlying offense is defined in a manner that includes such crimes. This deficiency in the law was highlighted by the PA Supreme Court in Commonwealth v. Clegg, 27 A.3d 1266 (2011), where the Court held that a conviction for “attempted burglary” was not a disqualifying offense under the UFA.

While the majority opinion was limited to the issue of “attempt,” Justice Eakin noted in a concurring opinion that he believed the reasoning applied equally to conspiracy and solicitation. He noted that prior to 1995 language did exist in the law covering attempt, conspiracy, and solicitation but that the language was not carried over into the 1995 Act. My legislation would reinstate that language.

I believe that taking an affirmative step to commit one of the offenses enumerated in the act should be treated in the same manner as if the person actually succeeded in committing the offense. By adding this language, we can strengthen our gun law while not imposing on or restricting the rights of law abiding gun owners.

If you have any questions, please contact my Chief Counsel, Mark Mekilo, at mmekilo@pasenate.com or 7-7112 at your convenience.

Introduced as SB310