FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

Table of Contents

About the author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More

Pennsylvania Gun Laws

Share this state
Table of Contents

Introduction

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The centrally located state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York to the north, and New Jersey to the east. Open carry is legal in Pennsylvania with a valid license to carry, except in Philadelphia.

Share
Ask a question about this

A. State Constitution

Regarding the right to bear arms, the Pennsylvania Constitution states:

“The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.”

[http://gunla.ws/pa1]

Buy Gun Laws By State Now

Like what you see here? Buy the book today and support this information and the gun law community. Thank you!


Share
Ask a question about this

B. Scope of Preemption

The controlling language of Pennsylvania’s preemption statute is set forth as follows:

“No county, municipality or township may in any manner regulate the lawful ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of firearms, ammunition or ammunition components when carried or transported for purposes not prohibited by the laws of this Commonwealth.”

[http://gunla.ws/pa2]

Cities and municipalities may regulate the unsafe discharge of firearms.

Share
Ask a question about this

C. Reciprocal Carry

By statute, Pennsylvania will recognize another state’s license to carry if that state recognizes Pennsylvania’s license:

“The Attorney General shall have the power and duty to enter into reciprocity agreements with other states providing for the mutual recognition of a license to carry a firearm issued by the Commonwealth and a license or permit to carry a firearm issued by the other state.”

[http://gunla.ws/pa3]

Anyone contemplating reciprocal carry should check with the official list maintained by the Pennsylvania AG at the point in time the reciprocal carry is to occur. Pennsylvania’s reciprocity agreement can be viewed here: [http://gunla.ws/pa4]

Share
Ask a question about this

D. NFA Items

Pennsylvania permits ownership of all NFA items, provided they are legally obtained pursuant to federal law. It is legal to use suppressors for hunting.

Share
Ask a question about this

E. Carrying Firearms in Vehicles

Pennsylvania generally prohibits carrying firearms in vehicles without a permit. Carrying a loaded long gun is illegal.  People without permits may only carry firearms in their vehicle if they are unloaded, and they are transporting it to or from: the place of purchase or repair, a shooting range, or hunting activities.

[http://gunla.ws/pa5]

Share
Ask a question about this

F. Self-defense Laws

Pennsylvania has a Castle Doctrine but no SYG law. There is no duty to retreat when in Your dwelling. You may use force, including deadly force, in defense of yourself or others if You reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent imminent death, SBI, the commission of a forcible felony, or if necessary to protect Your dwelling, place of business, or occupied motor home from arson, burglary, robbery, or other forcible felonies. [http://gunla.ws/pa6]

Share
Ask a question about this

G. Universal Background Checks

Pennsylvania requires that every sale of a handgun go through an FFL to conduct a background check.

Share
Ask a question about this

H. Criminal Provisions

Under Pennsylvania law, a license to carry a handgun is not valid in any of the following places or circumstances, whether it is issued by Pennsylvania, or a person is carrying pursuant to a reciprocity agreement between his or her state of license and Pennsylvania:

  • When carrying a firearm concealed on one’s person or in a vehicle pursuant to a license to carry, upon lawful demand of a law enforcement officer, one must produce the license for inspection
  • Some cities have passed ordinances that restricts carrying of firearms within City Parks be sure to check the ordinances of the City which You plan to be in ahead of time, although carry in State Parks by licensees is permitted
  • Mental hospitals
  • Casinos
  • Court houses
  • On school property

For a list of places where carrying firearms is prohibited, see:

[http://gunla.ws/pa7]

 

Share
Ask a question about this

I. Duty to Inform Officers

No. When carrying a firearm concealed on or about one’s person or in a vehicle, an individual licensed to carry must produce their license/permit to carry a firearm for inspection upon the request from a LEO.

[http://gunla.ws/w9rh]

Share
Ask a question about this

J. Do “No Gun Signs” Have the Force of Law?

No. “No Firearm” signs in Pennsylvania do not have the force of law unless they are posted on property that is specifically mentioned in State law as being off limits to those with a permit/license to carry. However, as a possessor with a real property interest, a retailer, has the right to limit, and qualify the right to enter the property, subject to not carrying a handgun. It would be improper to enter, and the licensee would be subject to ejection for possession of a handgun thereat. Failure to leave once requested would subject the licensee to criminal charges.

Share
Ask a question about this

K. Carry in Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

Yes, if you possess a valid concealed handgun license. Places like Fridays or Chili’s unless they have a “No Gun Sign,” then it is suggested that You not carry into the establishment. This does not include a bar or the bar area of a restaurant – You are prohibited from carrying into these areas. You can carry Your firearm into a restaurant that serves alcohol, but You are prohibited from carrying while You consume alcohol or are under the influence of alcohol.

Share
Ask a question about this

L. Open Carry (Without a Valid Permit/License)

Open carry is legal, except a valid permit/license is needed to carry a loaded handgun openly or concealed in a vehicle and for openly carrying in the city of Philadelphia. Places as listed in the “Criminal Provisions” above apply to those who open carry. Philadelphia has laws/ordinances concerning open carry and only those with a valid permit/license to carry can open carry in Philadelphia. [http://gunla.ws/u50p] The minimum age to open carry is 18.

Share
Ask a question about this


FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

Table of Contents

About the author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More