Need information on people harmed by Pennsylvania 908 Prohibted Offensive Weapons
We are hoping to introduce legislation in 2011 to reform 18 PACS 908 Prohibited Offensive Weapons. Most of the items listed have legitimate defensive and sporting uses. The last line in the list of prohibited weapons "other implement for the infliction of serious bodily injury which serves no common lawful purpose." gives police, DAs, and MDJs virtually unlimited authority to interpret anything as a Prohibited Offensive Weapon.
As if this wasn't bad enough, Pennsylvania has no state preemption of laws regarding weapons other than firearms. This means that every local municipality can create and enforce it's own laws about every weapon except firearms. This results in a patchwork of ever changing laws which are impossible to know and keep up with.
I need your help. I need information about actual cases in which a person has suffered because of 18 PACS 908. I need cases in which the only crime was the 908 offense, or any other extra charges (such as Disorderly Conduct) were ultimately dropped or aquitted.
My e mail is thecrmsnpyrut at aol dot com.Prohibited offensive weapons - 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 908
§ 908. Prohibited offensive weapons.
(a) Offense defined.--A person commits a misdemeanor of the
first degree if, except as authorized by law, he makes repairs,
sells, or otherwise deals in, uses, or possesses any offensive
(1) It is a defense under this section for the defendant
to prove by a preponderance of evidence that he possessed or
dealt with the weapon solely as a curio or in a dramatic
performance, or that, with the exception of a bomb, grenade
or incendiary device, he complied with the National Firearms
Act (26 U.S.C. § 5801 et seq.), or that he possessed it
briefly in consequence of having found it or taken it from an
aggressor, or under circumstances similarly negativing any
intent or likelihood that the weapon would be used
(2) This section does not apply to police forensic
firearms experts or police forensic firearms laboratories.
Also exempt from this section are forensic firearms experts
or forensic firearms laboratories operating in the ordinary
course of business and engaged in lawful operation who notify
in writing, on an annual basis, the chief or head of any
police force or police department of a city, and, elsewhere,
the sheriff of a county in which they are located, of the
possession, type and use of offensive weapons.
(3) This section shall not apply to any person who
makes, repairs, sells or otherwise deals in, uses or
possesses any firearm for purposes not
prohibited by the laws
of this Commonwealth.
(c) Definitions.--As used in this section, the following
words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this
"Firearm." Any weapon which is designed to or may readily be
converted to expel any projectile by the action of an explosive
or the frame or receiver of any such weapon.
"Offensive weapons." Any bomb, grenade, machine gun, sawed-
off shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches, firearm specially
made or specially adapted for concealment or silent discharge,
any blackjack, sandbag, metal knuckles, dagger, knife, razor or
cutting instrument, the blade of which is exposed in an
automatic way by switch, push-button, spring mechanism, or
otherwise, any stun gun, stun baton, taser or other electronic
or electric weapon or other implement for the infliction of
serious bodily injury which serves no common lawful purpose.
(d) Exemptions.--The use and possession of blackjacks by the
following persons in the course of their duties are exempt from
(1) Police officers, as defined by and who meet the
requirements of the act of June 18, 1974 (P.L.359, No.120),
referred to as the Municipal Police Education and Training
(2) Police officers of first class cities who have
successfully completed training which is substantially
equivalent to the program under the Municipal Police
Education and Training Law.
(3) Pennsylvania State Police officers.
(4) Sheriffs and deputy sheriffs of the various counties
who have satisfactorily met the requirements of the Municipal
Police Education and Training Law.
(5) Police officers employed by the Commonwealth who
have satisfactorily met the requirements of the Municipal
Police Education and Training Law.
(6) Deputy sheriffs with adequate training as determined
by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
(7) Liquor Control Board agents who have satisfactorily
met the requirements of the Municipal Police Education and
(Dec. 20, 1983, P.L.291, No.78, eff. imd.; July 6, 1984,
P.L.647, No.134, eff. 90 days; July 11, 1985, P.L.235, No.58,
eff. 60 days; Oct. 4, 1994, P.L.571, No.84, eff. 60 days; Nov.
6, 2002, P.L.1096, No.132, eff. 60 days)
2002 Amendment. Act 132 amended subsec. (c).
References in Text. The act of June 18, 1974 (P.L.359,
No.120), referred to as the Municipal Police Education and
Training Law, referred to in the def. of "police officer," was
repealed by the act of December 19, 1996, P.L.1158, No.177. The
subject matter is now contained in Subchapter D of Chapter 23 of
Title 53 (Municipalities Generally).
Cross References. Section 908 is referred to in section 6105
of this title; section 3304 of Title 5 (Athletics and Sports).