Pennsylvania state law clearly delineates the process for how a person can retrieve a firearm that has either they have relinquished or that has been taken from them by court order. If your situation is applicable in either of these situations, you must follow the letter of the law to retrieve your firearm. Otherwise, as specified by the following statute, it will be destroyed at the appropriate time.

ACT 79

CRIMES CODE (18 PA.C.S.) AND DOMESTIC RELATIONS CODE (23 PA.C.S.) - OMNIBUS AMENDMENTS
  Act of Oct. 12, 2018, P.L. 519, No. 79 Cl. 18

Session of 2018

No. 2018-79

Section 7.  Section 6108.1(a) and (b) of Title 23 are amended and the section is amended by adding subsections to read:

§ 6108.1.  Return of relinquished firearms, other weapons and ammunition and additional relief.

(a)  General rule.--Any court order requiring the relinquishment of firearms, other weapons or ammunition shall provide for the return of the relinquished firearms, other weapons or ammunition to the defendant upon expiration of the order or dismissal of a petition for a protection from abuse order. The defendant may take custody of the firearms, other weapons and ammunition provided that the defendant is otherwise eligible to lawfully possess the relinquished items. The defendant shall not be required to pay any fees, costs or charges associated with the returns, whether those fees, costs or charges are imposed by the Pennsylvania State Police, any local law enforcement agency or any other entity, including a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer or licensed dealer in order to secure return of the relinquished firearms, other weapons or ammunition. The sheriff's or the appropriate law enforcement agency's office shall maintain a weapons return form that the defendant may fill out and return to the office once a temporary or final protection from abuse order has been dismissed or expires.

(a.1)  Conditions for return.--The following conditions must be satisfied prior to the firearms, other weapons or ammunition being returned to the defendant:

(1)  The firearms, other weapons or ammunition relinquished must not be evidence of a crime.

(2)  The defendant or owner must not be otherwise prohibited by applicable Federal or State law, or another condition, including, but not limited to, bail, from taking possession of the firearms, other weapons or ammunition seized.

(3)  The defendant or owner must have been given a clearance by the Pennsylvania State Police Instant Check System Unit or through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), requested by the sheriff's office.

(a.2)  Notice to plaintiff.--The plaintiff of the protection from abuse order shall be notified of the defendant's request to return the firearms, other weapons or ammunition.

(a.3)  Petition for return.--If there is a determination under subsection (a.1) that the defendant is ineligible to regain possession of the firearms, other weapons or ammunition, the defendant or owner may file a petition appealing that determination and seeking their return. A copy of the petition must be served upon the plaintiff, sheriff and the district attorney.

(a.4)  Abandonment.--Any firearms, other weapons or ammunition shall be deemed abandoned when the conditions under 18 Pa.C.S. § 6128(a) (relating to abandonment of firearms, weapons or ammunition) are satisfied and may then be disposed of in accordance with 18 Pa.C.S. § 6128.

§ 6128.  Abandonment of firearms, weapons or ammunition.

(a)  General rule.--Firearms, weapons or ammunition which are itemized on a list required under 23 Pa.C.S. § 6108(a)(7)(v) (relating to relief) or the possession or acquisition of which is prohibited under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9) (relating to unlawful acts) and relinquished into or otherwise coming into the custody of a police department, Pennsylvania State Police, coroner, medical examiner, district attorney, sheriff or licensed dealer shall be deemed abandoned when:

(1)  Relinquished by its lawful owner pursuant to court order or executed warrant, and no written request to return or otherwise dispose of the firearms, weapons or ammunition is made by the lawful owner or the lawful owner's attorney or duly appointed representative after a period of one year from the date an order of relinquishment or seizure has expired.

(2)  Found, discovered or otherwise passed into the custody of the police department, Pennsylvania State Police, coroner, medical examiner, district attorney, sheriff or licensed dealer and no owner can be determined after a documented search of the database of firearms sales maintained by the Pennsylvania State Police is made at the time the firearms come into the custody of the police department, coroner, medical examiner, district attorney, sheriff or licensed dealer and is again made one year from the date of the first documented search.

(b)  Methods of disposal.--If firearms, weapons or ammunition are deemed abandoned under subsection (a), the custodian may dispose of the firearms, weapons or ammunition by:

(1)  Arranging for the sale of the firearms, weapons or ammunition to a federally licensed firearms dealer by sealed bid with proceeds of the sale to be retained by the custodian.

(2)  Arranging for the lawful and complete destruction of the firearms, weapons or ammunition. Firearms, weapons or ammunition that cannot lawfully be sold to a federally licensed firearms dealer in this Commonwealth shall be destroyed.

(c)  Limitation.--A custodian may not dispose of firearms, weapons or ammunition deemed abandoned under subsection (a)(1) without first notifying the person who relinquished the firearms, weapons or ammunition. If the person who relinquished the firearms, weapons or ammunition fails to respond within 20 days to the notice, the custodian may proceed with disposal of the firearms, weapons or ammunition. Notification shall be by certified mail to:

(1)  an address where the person relinquishing the firearms, weapons or ammunition is now known by the custodian to reside;

(2)  the last known address of the person relinquishing the firearms, weapons or ammunition;

(3)  the address of the person relinquishing the firearms, weapons or ammunition which was provided at the time of relinquishment; or

(4)  the address of the person relinquishing the firearms, weapons or ammunition which is found after searching the available sources of address data maintained in the Commonwealth's databases of motor vehicle registration, motor vehicle driver licensing, occupational and professional licensure, corrections facilities and public assistance.

Sheriff Rochelle Bilal and the Office of the Philadelphia Sheriff, in partnership with the Philadelphia Police Department, Chester County Sheriff’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation (Violent Crime Task Force), Bucks County Sheriff’s Office, Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Narcotics Investigation, the Philadelphia Juvenile Probation and Parole, and the Pennsylvania State Police, held a press conference on Friday, July 30, 2021, announcing the results of “Operation Priority Takedown,” a sweep concentrating on perpetrators of violent crime and perpetrators with outstanding warrants and a history of gun charges.

 

Thirty-Seven (37) fugitives were taken into custody on charges including possession of firearms, aggravated assault, burglary, robbery., strangulation and homicide. The burglary and robbery-related arrests were included as part of this operation are individuals with a history of violence. Various types of ammunition and weapons were recovered today, including an AR-15, double-barreled shotgun, and multiple handguns.

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To learn more and to submit your application, click here.

The Philadelphia Sheriff's Office is now accepting applications for the position of Deputy Sheriff from applicants without previous law-enforcement experience. This is an entry-level position, where new hires will learn and become certified in both Civil and Criminal enforcement within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  Employees learn to transport prisoners from State, County, City and courthouse institutions, provide protection for courthouse and judicial staff, and public safety for all judicial facilities, and maintain custody of prisoners during legal proceedings.  

This work involves regular exposure to unpredictable conditions and physical effort is frequently required.  Work is performed under the close supervision of a higher-level deputy sheriff. 

To learn more and to submit your application, click here.

To apply, click here.

 

The Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office is now accepting applications from experienced qualified law enforcement professionals for the position of Deputy Sheriff. For professionals with five or more years’ experience the starting salary is $60,273.

Requirements include but are not limited to one of the following:

• A current Deputy Sheriff Training Act II-114 certification

OR

• Deputy Sheriff Training Act II-114 certification that was valid within a three-year period.

• Completion of the Deputy Sheriff’s Training Act II-114 training under Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, through Deputy Sheriffs' Education and Training Program within the three-year period.

• Successfully completed a recognized Pennsylvania Municipal Police Officers' Education and Training Commission (MPOETC) Act 120 basic training course.

• Experience as a municipal police officer in Pennsylvania with either a current or past MPOETC certification card.

• Employment as a Pennsylvania State Police Officer as documented by a copy of academy graduation certificate and notice of retirement.

Salary, according to number of years with law enforcement experience:

$49,631 – Prior Law Enforcement Experience with One Year or Less

$52,289 – Prior Law Enforcement Experience with more than one year but less than three years

$54,291 – Prior Law Enforcement of three years but less than four years

$57,606 – Prior Law Enforcement Experience of Four Years but less than Five Years

$60,273 – Prior Law Enforcement Experience of Five Years or More

 

To submit an application, click here.

The July 23 deadline to apply is fast approaching!

If you’re a human being with at least one compassionate bone in your body, then you don’t like sheriff sales. These events, held to recoup unpaid mortgages for banks and unpaid taxes for the City of Philadelphia, signify nothing so much as the loss of a family’s home – the latest and most terrible tragedy in a long string of misfortunes ending in the bang of a gavel.

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The Sheriff Sale Resource Page
Now that the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office has successfully made the transition to online Sheriff Sales, this page has been developed to provide bidders, homeowners and anyone interested in the Sheriff Sale process with all relevant information about the sales. For people who want to participate in the bidding process who don't have internet access, you can download the paper bidding documents here. If you still have questions that remain unanswered by the information contained in the links below, please email Greg Salisbury, the Public Information Officer for the Sheriff's Office, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The New Auction Site
This link will take you to the dedicated Philadelphia Sheriff Sales pages for both mortgage foreclosure sales and tax sales at Bid4Assets, the company chosen to hold the sales for the Sheriff's Office. These pages include sale properties, instructions on how to register to bid on properties, and much more.

The Sheriff Sale Town Halls
Sheriff Rochelle Bilal and her team held two virtual town halls on the switch to online sales. The first town hall explains how the transition occurred and features a lengthy question-and-answer session. The second town hall features a detailed mock sale that mimics how Sheriff Sales will now occur. You can view both of these town halls, as well as other meetings held by Sheriff Bilal, on the Sheriff's YouTube page.

Frequently Asked Questions 
This page contains the answers to the dozens of questions asked during town halls and emailed in over the past few months about Sheriff Sales - how they work, what can and can't happen, resources for bidders and homeowners, and much, much more.

Off-Line Bidding 
We make it easy for all to participate.  Click here to download the Offline Bid Form.  You may also request one by e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., calling the Real Estate team at 215-686-3565 or sending correspondence to Philadelphia Sheriff, ATTN:  Real Estate, 100 South Broad Street, 5th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19110.  Please be sure that you request this information early so that you have enough time to receive the information and ask any questions before the auction. 

Sales Calendar 
Click here for the monthly calendar of all Sheriff Sales.

Conditions of Sale
It is essential that prospective bidders familiarize themselves with the conditions of sale for both the tax sales and the mortgage foreclosure sales.

 

 

Hello,
As sheriff sales resume in Philadelphia, it has become increasingly apparent that after a year without such sales – and with them resuming in an online-only capacity – that a number of questions and misconceptions about the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office and its role in the foreclosure process have persisted. Most, if not all, of these questions can be answered by going to our FAQ page or watching the town halls we have conducted on our YouTube page.

 

Foreclosures
Since its founding in 1682, the Office of the Philadelphia Sheriff has been responsible for a wide range of duties – but it has never foreclosed on properties. The foreclosure process is a court process that can take years. The Sheriff’s Office is not involved in the foreclosure process. It executes the orders of the court to sell properties that have gone through the lengthy, multi-stage foreclosure process to arrive at the point of being put up for Sheriff Sale.

 

The Sheriff’s authority to conduct sales
The Sheriff’s Office Sheriff Sale process is controlled by and mandated by the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure for handling the properties pre-sale, in-sale and post-sale. The same rules that were in place for in-person sales will also be in place for online sales. The only thing that has changed about the sale process is that it will now be taking place online. Just as the other counties throughout the commonwealth have abided by these rules to restart their own Sheriff Sales without issue, the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office is committed to doing the same.

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NOTE FOR PHILADELPHIA COUNTY TAX DELINQUENT & TAX LIENS CONDITIONS OF SALE
 

 

1.Based on the health and safety recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("CDC") and Pennsylvania Department of Health ("Department of Health") due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the scheduled sale shall be conducted virtually at Bid4Assets.com ("Bid4Assets").

 

2.YOU MUST BE EIGHTEEN (18) YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER TO BID.

 

3. All bidders must complete the Bid4Assets online registration process to participate in the auction ("Auction"). All bidders must submit a One Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($1,500.00) deposit ("Deposit") plus a Thirty-Five Dollars ($35.00) processing fee to Bid4Assets before the start of the Auction. Such single Deposit shall be associated with the Auction held as of this date ("Auction Date") and shall allow a bidder to bid on all of the properties that are listed on the Auction Date.

 

4. All properties are sold "AS IS" with NO expressed or implied warranties or guarantees whatsoever. The Sheriff and Bid4Assets shall not be liable as a result of any cause whatsoever for any loss or damage to the properties sold. In anticipation of participating in the Auction and purchasing a property, the bidder assumes all responsibility for due diligence. It is the responsibility of the bidder to investigate any and all liens, encumbrances and/or mortgages held against the property which may not be satisfied by the post-sale Schedule of Proposed Distribution under Pa. R.C.P. 3136 ("Schedule of Proposed Distribution").

 

5. The opening bid for all tax delinquent properties will be One Thousand Six Hundred Dollars ($1,600.00). The opening bid for tax lien auctions will vary (see auctions for details). By close of business the day after the auction, the purchaser is responsible for 10% of the purchase price for each property purchased or $600 whichever is greater. Plus a buyer’s premium of 10% of the total purchase price of each property purchased. The purchaser shall pay the balance of 90% of the purchase price for each property purchased plus a $35 processing fee by 5:00 PM EST on the fifteenth (15th) calendar day following the Auction Date unless that day falls on a holiday or weekend day, then the balance is due on the next business day by 5:00 PM EST. Payments are due as stated above, NO EXTENSIONS AND NO EXCEPTIONS.

 

6. Failure to comply with the Conditions of Sale including, but not limited to, the failure to pay the remaining balance by any due date (the 10% down payment due date is the day following the auction; the 90% balance due date is 15 days after the auction date) and complying with all post-sale instructions required by the Sheriff and Bid4Assets, shall result in a default ("Default") and the down payment shall be forfeited by the bidder.

 

7. The highest bidder shall be responsible for any and all post-sale costs that are imposed by law, which are incurred by the Sheriff. Please be advised that Realty Transfer Taxes have been calculated and included in the bid amount.

 

8. On any auction that results in a third-party sale, the bidder who was directly outbid by the highest bidder will be given the option to register as a second bidder. If the second bidder accepts this option, he/she agrees to purchase the property for the same price as the highest bidder. The second bidder shall deposit 10% of the purchase price by 5:00 PM EST on the first (1st) business day following the auction date. On that date, the second bidder will be apprised of the status of the winning bidder’s deposit and shall be told his/her 10% will be kept on deposit. The second bidder shall also be told he/she is liable for the 90% balance fifteen (15) calendar days from this date if the highest bidder does not comply. If the highest bidder did not complete the sale, the second bidder will have five (5) calendar days to complete the sale. If that 5th day falls on a holiday or weekend day, then the balance is due on the next business day by 5:00 PM EST. If the second bidder is non-compliant he/she will forfeit his/her deposit to Sheriff. If the highest bidder completes the transaction, the second bidder will get his/her deposit refunded within 10 business days.

 

9. If a bidder wins multiple properties and does not comply with the conditions of sale for each property he is deemed in Default and all of the consequences of a Default will apply.

 

10. The Sheriff’s Office, in its sole discretion, may cancel the sale after the auction closes for any reason.

 

11. The Plaintiff, pursuant to Court Order, may cancel the sale after the auction closes for any reason.

 

12. The tax servicer, pursuant to Court Order, may cancel the sale after the auction closes for any reason.

 

13. All bidding after the minimum bid, as described in Paragraph 4., shall be in increments of at least One Hundred Dollars ($100.00).

 

14. The winning bidder must file a certificate of compliance with the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office. If the Sheriff’s grantee is to be anyone other than the winning bidder registered with Bid4Assets, a notarized written assignment must be filed with the Sheriff’s Office of Philadelphia. Both the bidder and the assignee must file a certificate of compliance with the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office. Failure of either the bidder or the assignee to obtain a certificate of compliance will be treated as a failure to meet the conditions of sale and result in the forfeiture of the 10% deposit.

 

15. The Sheriff will not acknowledge a deed poll to any individual or entity using an unregistered fictitious name and may, at the discretion of the Sheriff, require proof of identity of the purchaser or the registration of fictitious names. The bid of an unregistered fictitious name shall be forfeited as if the bidder failed to meet the terms of sale.

 

16. The Sheriff reserves the right to refuse purchase from bidders who have failed to enter deposits, failed to make settlement or for any other reason at Sheriff’s sole discretion and further reserves the right to deny access to future sales for a period of time as determined by the Sheriff.

 

17. The Sheriff will file in the Prothonotary’s office a Schedule of Distribution Thirty (30) Days from the date of sale of Real Estate. Distribution will be made in accordance with the Schedule unless exceptions are filed thereto within Ten (10) days thereafter. Any balance exceeding the payouts per the Schedule of Distribution and Exceptions thereto, shall be paid to the homeowner at the time of sale.

 

18. The properties at today’s sale may be subject to a right of redemption, meaning the property owner or other parties of legal interest in the property may file a petition to get the property back after the sale. Generally there are 9 months to redeem the property from the date the Sheriff's office acknowledges the deed for non-vacant properties. We cannot provide any advice as to whether a right to redeem exists on a specific property. If you have questions regarding redemption and protecting your rights we advise that you speak to an attorney.

 

19. The Philadelphia Land Bank will be bidding on certain properties that have been identified on the Sheriff Sale list. The Land Bank's bids are known as "priority bids," which are authorized by the Commonwealth's Land Bank Act. The properties the Land Bank will be bidding on are being offered for sale at the City's opening bid. However, because the Land Bank has the exclusive right to acquire these properties, no bids other than the Land Bank bids will be accepted.

 

20. When the Sheriff’s Deed Poll is issued to the winning bidder, he/she becomes the official new owner of the property. If the property is occupied, the new owner must start a judicial procedure for ejectment to have the occupant removed.

 

21. All auctions are conducted pursuant to Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure and the local rules of the City and County of Philadelphia.

 

WARNING: All Sheriff’s Sales are strictly monitored for any and all suspicious and fraudulent activity (Including but not limited to Computer, Identity, Bank, Wire, etc.). If the Sheriff’s office detects any suspicious and/or fraudulent activity during any sale, at the Sheriff’s discretion, the bidder’s account shall be suspended for whatever action deemed appropriate. Furthermore, those individuals face both criminal and civil liability and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

 
EFF 4/9/2021 

Thank you to the thousands of people who have participated in the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office's first town hall dedicated to the transition of Sheriff Sales to an online model – if you haven't seen it yet, click here to view.

So many excellent questions were asked during the town hall about all aspects of the Sheriff Sales that we have compiled them – and the answers – all here for quick reference. If you have a question that is not included in this list, please email Public Information Officer This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and he will get an answer for you. And please join us for the next town hall on March 29, 2021, at 1 p.m. This event will feature a hands-on demonstration of how online Sheriff Sales will work.

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Philadelphia, PA – Sheriff Rochelle Bilal and the Office of the Philadelphia Sheriff announce that Sheriff Sales will resume virtually on April 6, 2021. 


Due to COVID-19 social distancing requirements necessary to protect bidders and employees, it has not been safe to hold in-person auctions. Following a detailed analysis of the available options, Sheriff Sales of foreclosed and tax lien properties will resume via online auctions. Until now, these sales, which are a result of mortgage foreclosures and money judgments, 
have been in-person auctions conducted by the Sheriff's Office.

 

The Office of the Sheriff has selected online auction company Bid4Assets (Bid4Assets.com) to produce the virtual sales. The company has significant experience successfully hosting online auctions and currently performs the same auction services in Pennsylvania for Montgomery, Bucks, Berks, Monroe, and Adams Counties.

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