Who says that they don't understand the laws? They have been confiscating firearms for a long time. They know the law and rules. There is a whole bookcase full of such instances/cases at the OLR lobby on the 5th floor of the legislative office building.
And look at the forms that they output, ostensibly in respect to PA13-3. Asking for irrelevant information, information that they cannot legally ask for, and asking us to sign a statement that is a legal conclusion to insure that any tiny violation will be found to be "trying to deceive a public servant".
I visited my state representative today and let him know that the 2 new DPS forms are defective and I could not see any citizen completing them without putting themselves in serious risk beyond what the legislature required or expected.
The postings on this site and others were useful in hitting point after point home with the legislative aide (my state rep voted no on PA13-3 although his is a demorat ~ several people in our community swayed him I think ~ I know I did what I could).
DESPP has little concern for the law I'm afraid .... I don't think that the confiscation was an error .. quite on purpose. And I don't know if any relief is possible for the folks who turned in their guns. Its unfortunate.