PROTECTION FROM ABUSE ACT
Anyone who needs to file a Protection From Abuse (PFA) may do so in the Lancaster County Bail Administration Office located at the Lancaster County Courthouse. Emergency PFA Orders may be filed through the local district courts when the Courthouse is closed. Domestic Violence Legal Clinic and Mid-Pen Legal Service also assist in PFA filings.
Anyone who has had a PFA filed against them should contact the Sheriff's Office so they may be provided a copy of the PFA Order. There is also a pamphlet that can be obtain in the Office that explains the PFA process.
ACT 79 of 2018
The Sheriff's Office is responsible for service of Protection From Abuse Orders (PFA) and the confiscation and storage of weapons that are relinquished pursuant to the PFA Act.
PROCESS FOR RETRIEVING FIREARMS/WEAPONS SEIZED DUE TO A PFA
Upon withdrawal, termination, or dismissal of a PFA, it is the owner’s responsibility to submit a request to the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office for the return of any seized weapons pursuant to the PFA by completing the following steps:
1. Complete the highlighted sections of the Firearms Release Request Form and return it to the Sheriff’s Office with a copy of the court order, showing that the PFA was withdrawn, terminated, or dismissed and a copy of the front of your driver’s license or identification card and updated address card, if applicable. The address on the Firearms Release Request Form must match the address on the license or ID card or address update card.
2. Once received, a Pennsylvania State Police background check will be completed via the Pennsylvania Instant Checks Systems (PICS).
3. After obtaining PICS approval for the weapons return, you will be contacted to set up a date and time to come to the Courthouse to take possession of the your firearms and/or weapons. An appointment will be set up within 48 hours to turn over the weapons. If more than 48 hours elapses from the time of the PICS approval, a new check will need to be conducted and delay the process of the firearms and/or weapons being turned over.
4. If the PICS check is denied, you will be notified of the denial by either phone or email. It is your responsibility to complete the Pennsylvania Instant Check System Challenge Form and submit it by mail to the Pennsylvania State Police within 30 days.
PROCEDURE FOR A RELATIVE OF A DECEASED DEFENDANT ASSUMING CUSTODY OF FIREARMS
If a relative seeks to assume custody of the weapons of a deceased family member, this must be done through the defendant’s executor of their estate. The executor must provide the documentation establishing them as such and a copy of the defendant’s death certificate. The executor and/or person desiring to assume custody of the weapons will be required to fill out the Firearms Release Request Form and go through the Pennsylvania Instant Checks System (PICS). Upon approval from PICS, an appointment will be set up within 48 hours to turn over the weapons. If more than 48 hours elapses from the time of the PICS approval, a new PICS check will need to be conducted and delay the process of weapons being turned over. All parties will receive an itemized receipt upon relinquishment of the firearms.
Please contact our office with any questions.
Note: Any information contained on this page is not legal advise and is informational. Please consult a licensed legal professional for any and all legal advise.