Whether you’re new to owning a firearm or have had a gun for home defense for years, getting a concealed carry license may seem daunting. It doesn’t have to be. There are many reasons and ways to carry a concealed weapon, but the first step is knowing the laws. Applying for a CCW varies by state. Read about the process for getting a Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms (LCF) below.

Similar to license requirements, states vary greatly in their processes for how an applicant obtains a concealed carry license, what their permits/licenses are called, whether licenses include photographs, whether fingerprinting is required, license duration, license costs and turnaround times. Some states allow an applicant to complete an application online, while others require an in-person visit to the office of the respective issuing authority. There are even states that require the applicant to provide a list of non-related character references.

Concealed Carry License Basics

Pennsylvania is a shall-issue state with LCFs issued at the county level by the sheriff’s office. If a licensee is a resident of a city of the first class, permits are issued with the chief of police of that city. Shall issue means licensing authorities in Pennsylvania are compelled to issue a license as long as an applicant meets the basic requirements set out by state law.

Pennsylvania LCFs are issued to residents and non-residents that are at least 21 years old. Non-residents must already have permits to carry in their home states in order to obtain a Pennsylvania license. There is no training requirement. An LCF is valid for five years.

Federally Prohibited Persons

The Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Federal Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997 make it illegal for a person who fits into any of the prohibited categories to ship, transport, receive or possess firearms or ammunition. These laws prevent a state from issuing a concealed carry permit or license as it would be illegal for people who fit in these categories, by federal law, to own or possess a gun.

What Are the License Requirements in Pennsylvania?

An applicant must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Be a resident of the county in which the application is filed for at least 90 days or if from another state, possess a permit/license from that state
  • Not have a character and reputation indicating the applicant would be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety
  • Not have been convicted of or adjudicated delinquent in the past 10 years for any offense under The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act
  • Qualify to possess a firearm under Pennsylvania law and must not have been convicted of or adjudicated delinquent in the past 10 years for any of the crimes which disqualify individuals from firearm possession under Pennsylvania law
  • Be of sound mind and never have been committed to a mental institution
  • Not be addicted to or an unlawful user of marijuana or a stimulant, depressant or narcotic drug
  • Not be a habitual drunkard
  • Not have been charged with or convicted of a crime punishable by more than 1 year of imprisonment
  • Not be an undocumented alien
  • Not have been dishonorably discharged from the armed forces
  • Not be a fugitive from justice
  • Not be otherwise prohibited from possessing, using, manufacturing, controlling, purchasing, selling or transferring a firearm as provided by Pennsylvania law
  • Meet the federal law requirements mentioned above

Do I Need Firearms Training in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania law does not require applicants for a License to Carry Firearms to undergo firearms safety training or otherwise demonstrate knowledge of firearms safety. However, the USCCA recommends anyone who makes the choice to carry a concealed firearm obtain as much training as possible in order to be a responsibly armed American.

How Do I Get a Concealed Carry License in Pennsylvania?

Step 1: Applicants should download and complete the application or go to your county sheriff’s office to obtain an application. Non-residents may submit a completed application to any Pennsylvania county sheriff’s office. A Pennsylvania license can only be issued to a resident of another state who has a current license, permit or similar document to carry a firearm issued by their home state. The application requires you to provide two references that are not family members.

Step 2: Take the completed application to your county sheriff’s office or the chief of police. You will need a driver’s license or state ID or, if a resident of another state, your license or permit from that state.

Pay the fee.

Your photo will be taken.

Step 3: If your background check clears quickly, you may be able to leave with your license. Otherwise, you will be notified by mail within 45 days if your application has been approved.

For more information, visit the USCCA Pennsylvania gun laws page now… 

The information contained on this website is provided as a service to USCCA, Inc. members and the concealed carry community, and does not constitute legal advice. Although we attempt to address all areas of concealed carry laws in all states, we make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. Legal advice must always be tailored to the individual facts and circumstances of each individual case. Laws are constantly changing, and as such, nothing contained on this website should be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer.