Act 79 – Security for Victims of Abuse in Pennsylvania
October 19, 2018

Act 79 - Security for Victims of Abuse in PennsylvaniaOn October 12, 2018, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolfe signed in to law Act 79 which amends Pennsylvania’s Protection from Abuse Act (23 Pa.C.S.A. 6107). The changes modify some of the provisions that deal with the possession of guns and firearm by an
abuser and should provide enhanced security for victims.

The changes enacted by Governor Wolfe requires those convicted of misdemeanor
crimes of domestic violence or subject to protective orders to immediately (within twenty­
four hours) relinquish guns and firearms. The current law provides that such weapons be relinquished within 60 days of the entry of such orders.

Another section of Act 79 addresses the individuals to whom weapons can be relin­quished. Under Act 79, weapons can be turned over to the police, a gun dealer, or to a lawyer. Weapons may no longer be relinquished to a “third party”( as permitted in the prior Act) for safekeeping. The practice of permitting friends and family to hold an abusers guns is no longer acceptable or permitted.

Under the new provisions, it is required that service is made by the sheriff or authorized deputy sheriff unless the plaintiff specifically chooses or agrees to another method of service. Act 79 takes effect in approximately six months and is viewed by many as a great step forward in Pennsylvania gun safety regulation. Similar laws exist in Arizona, Hawaii, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington.

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