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Basic Carry Laws: Pennsylvania

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Carrying a firearm for self-defense comes with a lot of responsibility. Knowing the laws where you carry is just one important task you must undertake as an armed American. To help with that, we will be providing you with a summary of basic carry laws for several states. Learn about the most important things to know when carrying in the Keystone State below.

Permitting in Pennsylvania

Open carry is legal in Pennsylvania without a permit for anyone who is at least 18 years old and who can legally possess a firearm. Concealed carry is legal with a Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms (LCF) or a permit/license from a state with which Pennsylvania has reciprocity. The state only honors resident concealed carry licenses from states with which it has a reciprocity agreement. Pennsylvania LCFs are issued to both residents and non-residents who have a permit to carry in their home states. Stun guns and Tasers are legal to purchase and possess without a permit for anyone legally entitled to carry a firearm. These devices can be used in the exercise of reasonable force in defense of the person or the person’s property.

A permit to purchase a handgun is not required in Pennsylvania. Private party transfers of handguns must be conducted through a licensed dealer or at a county sheriff’s office. A background check is required. A purchaser must be at least 18 years old to buy a handgun. There is no firearms registration or waiting period for handguns. It is illegal for any person to possess KTW Teflon-coated bullets or other armor-piercing ammunition with the intent to use the ammunition in a crime.

Although the City of Pittsburgh had a large-capacity-magazine ordinance for a period of time, the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas decided against the City of Pittsburgh in Anderson v. City of Pittsburgh. The court found that Pittsburgh’s attempt to impose local gun-control measures was a clear violation of state preemption law. Therefore, Pennsylvania has no law restricting large-ammunition-capacity magazines.

Where Can You Carry in Pennsylvania?

Anyone with an LCF or permit from a state with which Pennsylvania has reciprocity can carry a concealed handgun in a vehicle in Pennsylvania. Carry in a vehicle is not allowed without a permit, although there are some exceptions listed in the statute.

Locations where a concealed handgun may be carried include:

  • Restaurants that serve alcohol (unless posted)
  • State/national parks
  • State/national forests
  • Wildlife Management Areas
  • Roadside rest areas

Locations where carry is prohibited, even for permit holders, include:

  • The buildings and grounds of elementary and secondary education schools and school buses
  • Courthouses (off-limits areas must be posted)
  • Detention facilities and correctional institutions
  • Mental hospitals
  • The public areas of One Penn Center, 2601 North Third Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, under the jurisdiction of the Department of State. This includes the interior offices of the Department of State, Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation, State Athletic Commission, and leased offices and facilities related thereto
  • City of Philadelphia-owned buildings and parks (although this disregards state preemption laws)
  • Secured areas of airports
  • Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal or state law or regulation

Visit the USCCA Pennsylvania gun laws page now…

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