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Collector says police did not give him a chance to get rid of guns

An Allegheny County man who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in February now faces 164 weapons charges related to his gun collection, which he no longer can possess under Pennsylvania law. The man says that authorities lied to him about how much time he had to get rid of the guns before he would be criminally charged. Just an hour after his probation officer told him he had a week to take care of the problem, police officers came to his home and arrested him.

The man was involved in a bar fight that led to charges that he used a stun gun on someone. On Feb. 6, he pleaded guilty to three misdemeanors, including simple assault, possessing an offensive weapon and using an electronic incapacitation device.

He was given 18 months of probation in exchange for the guilty plea. Both sides agree that the defendant's probation officer told him that among the terms of his probation is a prohibition against having guns in his home, but the date that information was passed along is in dispute. Prosecutors claim that the probation officer told the defendant on Feb. 17. But the defendant says he did not learn about the gun ban until March 1, when the probation officer visited his home.

He also said the defendant had seven days to get rid of his collection, which included 165 guns kept in a locked cabinet in the basement, the defendant's attorney said. The man planned to get in touch with gun dealers to sell them off, but just an hour later Allegheny County police entered the house, confiscated the guns and arrested the man.

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "Penn Hills gun owner fights new charges," Margaret Harding, March 27, 2012

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