Community Issues

Law Goes Into Effect in PA That Takes Guns from Abusers

Law hopes to protect domestic violence victims by taking away their abusers' guns


A bill takes effect tomorrow in Pennsylvania that the governor calls "the first major gun safety bill in decades in Pennsylvania." Act 79 forces people convicted of domestic violence or who are under a Protection From Abuse Order (PFA) to turn over their guns to police.

"With Act 79, victims of domestic abuse will know that Pennsylvania is working to protect them from their abusers," Gov. Tom Wolf said. "The incidents of domestic violence where guns are involved in our commonwealth prove that this commonsense law is an important step to protect victims of domestic abuse, save lives, and hold abusers accountable for their actions."

The new law requires:

  • Defendants who are subject to a final PFA order to give up their firearms and ammunition if they contested the PFA case
  • Anyone convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence to give up their guns within 24 hours (right now it's 60 days)
  • Defendants in PFA cases who have to give up their guns must give them to police, a firearms dealer or an attorney. They can't give them to a friend or family member like they have in the past
We owe all Pennsylvanians a safe place to live. -- PA Gov. Tom Wolf

State Police are updating the Protection from Abuse Database (PFAD) system so that police throughout the state can access the new forms that are required by the statute.

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