As a shall-issue state, Pennsylvania issues a concealed weapon permit to all applicants who can meet the requirements. These permits are issued at the county level by the sheriff's office or if a resident of a city of the first class, with the chief of police of that city. Furthermore, there is no permit requirement when purchasing a handgun; however, private-party transfers of firearms must be conducted through a licensed firearms dealer or at the county sheriff's office if the transfer is not between spouses, parents, and children, or grandparents and grandchildren. A background check is also required.
If you are at least 18 years old and can legally possess a firearm, then you can legally carry a firearm openly in the state of Pennsylvania except if you're carrying the firearm in a vehicle or in the city of Philadelphia. In that case, you will need to obtain a Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms (LCF) or a permit/license from a state with which PA has reciprocity.
Conversely, it is legal to concealed carry a firearm in the state of Pennsylvania for those who possess a Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms (LCF). In order to apply for this license, you need to be at least 21 years old and meet the requirements stipulated by law. The license is available for both residents and non-residents of the state, and there is no training required when applying for a permit. If you are planning to apply for a gun permit in Pennsylvania, this quick guide will help you understand everything you need to know about the CCW laws and permits within the state.
Pennsylvania CCW License
In order to apply for a Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms (LCF), you must:
- Be at least 21 years of age;
- Be a resident of the county the application is filed it 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 ten 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 ten 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 one 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; and
Please note that under Federal Law, the following persons are not allowed to apply for a gun permit in the state of Pennsylvania:
- Fugitives from justice
- Persons who are unlawful users of or are addicted to narcotics or any other controlled substances (including medical marijuana, see below)
- Persons adjudicated as a mental defective or who have been committed to a mental institution
- Persons who have been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year
- Persons who are under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year
- Military veterans discharged under dishonorable conditions
- Persons who have renounced U.S. citizenship
- Aliens illegally in the U.S.
- Persons subject to a court order that restrains them from harassing, stalking or threatening an intimate partner or child of such intimate partner
- And persons convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence
Some exceptions may apply.
The following steps are required to be followed when applying for a gun permit in Pennsylvania:
STEP 1: Download and complete the application or go to your county sheriff's office to obtain an application. Two references must be provided during the application process. You are also required to provide the reason for applying, which could include: self-defense, employment, hunting, target shooting, gun collecting, or "another proper reason."
STEP 2: Submit 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.
STEP 3: Pay the fee and have your photo taken.
STEP 4: If your background check clears quickly, you may be able to leave with your permit. Otherwise, you will be notified by mail if your application has been approved.
Important Note: Law enforcement must issue a license "if, after an investigation not to exceed 45 days, it appears that the applicant is an individual concerning whom no good cause exists to deny the license."
You need to renew your Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms (LCF) 60 days prior to the expiration of your current license up to 60 days after. Please note that renewal applications for expired licenses older than 60 days old are considered a new application for initial permits. You can also choose between two types of permits:
- Hard Plastic, similar to driver's license, $46.00, you do not need to supply a photo for this option.
- Laminated paper permit with a photo attached, $25.00. You must supply two official passport photographs to obtain this permit.
Follow these steps to renew your Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms (LCF):
STEP 1: Schedule an appointment with the sheriff's office to renew your handgun license.
STEP 2: Download and complete the application or go to your county sheriff's office to obtain an application. Two references must be provided during the application process. You are also required to provide the reason for applying, which could include: self-defense, employment, hunting, target shooting, gun collecting, or "another proper reason."
STEP 3: Submit the following requirements:
- A completed application;
- Your expired handgun license;
- Foreign-born applicants who are U.S. Citizens must supply Passport or Naturalization Paperwork;
- Foreign-born applicants who are not U.S. Citizens must provide proof of immigration status and 90 days proof of residency (i.e., three months of utility bills); and
- A driver's license with your current address on it.
STEP 4: Pay the fee.
STEP 5: If your background check clears quickly, you may be able to leave with your permit. Otherwise, you will be notified by mail if your application has been approved.
The following are the associated fees in applying for or renewing a gun permit in Oklahoma:
Initial Permit (5 year validity)
Renewals (5 year validity)
Pennsylvania CCW Laws
NO – Without a Permit/License
Any person who carries a firearm concealed on or about his person except in his place of abode or fixed place of business without a valid and lawfully issued license commits a felony of the third degree. Some exceptions may apply.
Must Notify Officer
NO – Must Inform Officer on Contact By Law
Pennsylvania gun laws don't say that you need immediately inform law enforcement you are carrying a weapon if stopped by them. The laws do state that you must have with you at all times you are carrying a firearm your permit and produce this when requested.
YES – With or Without a Permit/License
If you are at least 18 years old and can legally possess a firearm, then you can legally carry a firearm openly in the state of Pennsylvania except if you're carrying the firearm in a vehicle or in the city of Philadelphia.
No Weapons Signs Enforced
"No Weapons" signs are not mentioned in Oregon gun laws. There are no legal penalties for entering a private property or business that has posted these signs.
Pennsylvania Gun Forms & Supporting Documentation
Purchase and Possession
All persons wishing to sell any handgun may only do so at a lawful business location of a licensed dealer or at the office of the county sheriff in the county of handgun purchase. Any instance of firearm transfer or sale may be result in an instant records check of a potential buyer by the dealer. Buyers are mandated to sign a transfer application or record of sale in any case of handgun transfer. The purchase of rifles and shotguns is exempt from this mandate. Potential buyers must incur a $3 firearm sale fee and a $2 instant record check fee. Exempt from these regulations are all lawful firearm transfers between active duty law enforcement personnel, parents and their children, spouses and grandparents and their grandchildren. Firearms classified as antique are not subject to the regulations normally applied to transfers through firearms dealers. Lawful shotguns and rifles may be transferred between unlicensed parties.
No licensed party may transfer, sell or deliver a handgun without first providing or confirming the buying party’s possession of a handgun safety device that must be deactivated in order to operate the gun. Transfers between licensed dealers and law enforcement officers, transfers of antique firearms and any firearm designed with a built-in safety device are exempt from this regulation.
It is illegal in the state of Pennsylvania to transfer ownership of, sell or give a handgun to anyone. Exempt from this law are recipients of a handgun who maintain a license to carry a handgun, persons participating in firearms training, hunter safety courses or competitions as facilitated by the Pennsylvania Game Commission or NRA, persons participating in lawful trapping or hunting, persons loaning a firearm to an individual who shall remain on the property or within the home of the person loaning the handgun and persons under the age of 18 who are supervised a responsible and vigilant citizen, 21 years of age or older.
Citizens of Pennsylvania who qualify for the ability to purchase or possess a firearm in the state of Pennsylvania may lawfully do so outside of the state given that the citizen qualifies under the laws of the state or jurisdiction of purchase.
It is illegal to willfully sell or transfer any firearm to a person explicitly disqualified by law from possessing a firearm.
No person convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance three or more times within a period of five years may purchase a firearm; however, they may continue to possess a previously owned firearm. Convicts may, under certain circumstances, may appeal to the Court of Common Pleas for potential reestablishment of his or her right to purchase or possess a firearm, though this appeal does not necessarily erase any data from one’s criminal record. Additional information may be sought at any licensed firearm dealer in the form of a free brochure.
The state of Pennsylvania does not mandate any license to possess a rifle, shotgun or handgun (though handguns may only be possessed in one’s property or at one’s place of business).It is illegal in Pennsylvania for any of the following persons to possess a firearm:
- convicts of offenses relating to the abuse of controlled substances that result in penalty of 2 or more years;
- current fugitives from justice;
- nonresident aliens;
- persons coercively committed to an institution of mental health;
- persons adjudicated by a court as mentally incompetent;
- convicts of a violent crime;
- persons categorized as delinquents for a crime or offense that, if these persons were adults, would disqualify them from carrying a firearm;
- persons under the binds of a court “protection from abuse” order with an additional penalty of five years in prison and up to $10,000 for possession or for selling to someone under the binds of a court “protection from abuse” order;
- persons below the age of 18. Exempt from this regulation are minors engaging in lawful target practice, training or competitive shooting when under the supervision of a parent, guardian, grandparent or responsible adult with the permission of the minor’s parent or guardian. Also exempt are minors transporting an unloaded firearm for the purpose of lawful hunting.
Carrying a Firearm
It is illegal for any person to carry a firearm on or in the boundaries of any:
- Philadelphia public street or public property unless a person maintains a license to carry a handgun.
- Public streets or property during a government proclaimed emergency except in instances of self-defense or licensed carrying.
- Court facility or building of judicial proceedings (lockers for the temporary storage of firearms shall be provided in all court buildings).
- Public or private school property unless that person is carrying a firearm for a school-sanctioned event or activity.
The state of Pennsylvania mandates that all persons carrying a handgun concealed on one’s person or in a vehicle must also carry a license to carry a concealed firearm or a Sportsman’s Firearm Permit.
The following are exempt from the license requirement:
- Active duty law enforcement or correctional facility personnel;
- Carrying a handgun in one’s personal residence or private business;
- Using a handgun for target practice or while en route to target practice facilities given that the firearm is unloaded and properly sealed in case or container;
- Carrying a firearm while engaging in lawful hunting or fishing practices or en route to hunting and fishing grounds given that the carrier has a Sportsman’s Fisherman Permit or hunting or fishing license.
- Transporting a firearm in a vehicle while maintaining a lawful license to carry a firearm from another state or entity of the United States.
- Carrying an unloaded, securely wrapped firearm from a place of purchase to a private home or business, to and from a gun repair facility, en route from a former residence to a new residence, to and from a vacation home or to and from a “firearms surrender” facility.
- Persons arrested for carrying a firearm within six months of the expiration of their lawful permit to carry a concealed handgun and are currently eligible for a license renewal.
- Persons driving a vehicle containing a properly sealed handgun owned by a spouse or parent provided that the parent or spouse maintains a license to carry that handgun.
Sportsman’s Firearm Permits may be obtained by submitting a permit application, current hunting or fishing license and a $6.00 fee to the county treasurer. All lawful permits shall be recognized throughout the state of Pennsylvania for no more than five years and must be carried in addition to a hunting or fishing license in order to be recognized.
Any resident wishing to obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun must submit an application and $20.00 fee to the chief of police in a large, first-class city or to the county sheriff in an applicant’s county of residence. Any non-resident wishing to obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun may submit an application to a county sheriff provided that the non-resident maintains a license to carry a firearm in their current state of residence. All information submitted by an applicant shall remain confidential and shall not be disclosed to the public. Licenses to carry a concealed firearm shall be recognized throughout the state of Pennsylvania for a period of no more than five years unless the license holder violates a state law or regulation that warrants the disqualification of the holder’s permit.
The issuing authority of Pennsylvania shall issue a license to a lawful applicant, within 45 days, unless the applicant is disqualified from acquiring a permit by any of the following conditions:
- Recent conviction or pending trial for several classes of crimes.
- Habitual alcoholism or addition to any controlled substance.
- A reputation or manner that evidences a likely danger to the public.
- Recent coercive commitment to an institution of mental health or adjudication of mental incompetence.
- Dishonorable discharge from the United States Military.
Any person carrying a concealed handgun must present his or her concealed handgun license upon the request of any law enforcement officer. Sportsman’s Firearm Permits and licenses to carry do not permit the carrying of a loaded rifle or shotgun in a vehicle. Sportsman’s Firearm Permits do not legalize the carrying of a loaded handgun in any vehicle by any person.
Antiques & Replicas
The state of Pennsylvania defines “antique firearms” as firearms manufactured in or prior to the year 1898 or designed or capable of using a percussion cap or flintlock projectile system. Antique firearms also includes replicas given that they are not designed or capable of using a fixed ammunition rimfire or centerfire projectile system or that they utilize a rimfire or centerfire projectile system with ammunition that is not commonly found within US commercial markets.
Antique firearms are exempt from the Uniform Firearms Act but they are subject to all laws and regulations pertinent to carrying a firearm or prohibited possession.
All machine guns, “sawed-off” rifles and shotguns and suppressors are prohibited in the state of Pennsylvania unless they are properly registered under the National Firearms Act.Machine guns may be lawfully possessed in the following cases:
- As a curiosity or for display.
- In a performance of a drama, play or film.
- In instances of finding a machine gun or of disarming a violent aggressor.
Rifle, silhouette, pistol, skeet, black powder and other ranges and their owners are immune from civil and criminal litigation pertaining to noise pollution.
35 PA. STAT. ANN. § 4501 (2011)
§ 4501. General immunity for noise
All owners of rifle, pistol, silhouette, skeet, trap, blackpowder or other ranges in this Commonwealth shall be exempt and immune from any civil action or criminal prosecution in any matter relating to noise or noise pollution resulting from the normal and accepted shooting activity on ranges, provided that the owners of the ranges are in compliance with any applicable noise control laws or ordinances extant at the time construction of the range was initiated. If there were no noise control laws or ordinances extant at the time construction of the range was initiated, then the immunity granted by this act shall apply to said ranges.
Pennsylvania Concealed Carry Reciprocity
Pennsylvania's Reciprocity States
States that honor a Pennsylvania ccw license
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Pennsylvania honors these state ccw licenses
Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
RESIDENTIAL PERMITS ONLY
Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, Utah, Virginia
ND CLASS 1 PERMITS ONLY
States that will not accept a Pennsylvania ccw license
California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Washington, Washington D.C.
Places where you CAN'T carry in Pennsylvania
- Philadelphia city parks
- Court Houses (Areas Off Limits Must Be Posted)
- Elementary and Secondary Education Schools
- School bus
- Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by Federal Law.
Places where you CAN carry in Pennsylvania
- State parks
- State and national forests
- Roadside rest areas
- All areas of the state - except those listed as off-limits
It is illegal in the state of Pennsylvania to alter or destroy a firearm’s manufacturer number or other identifying mark or to possess such a firearm. The state of Pennsylvania shall presume that any possessor of such a firearm is the offender. Antique firearms are exempted from this regulation.
No locality, municipality or political subdivision of the state of Pennsylvania may enact or seek the civil litigation of any ammunition or firearm manufacturer, trade association or dealer for damages, injunctive relief or abatement for the misuse, sale or advertisement of a lawfully designed and transferred firearm. This regulation does not apply to instances of manufacturer, dealer or trader breach of contract of failure to honor a warranty.
Pennsylvania law does not explicitly allow for the creation, by any government agent or employee, of a registry of firearms owners.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who issues a permit?
A license to carry a handgun is issued at the local level by the county sheriff's office.
How long is the processing time?
The application for a concealed carry permit/license must be processed within 45 days after the application is received.
Who can apply for a sportsman
Any person 18 or older and who has a license to hunt or has a permit relating to dogs can make an application for a Sportsman's Firearm Permit to the county treasurer's office.
What is the minimum age to possess a handgun?
18 years old.
If I give a firearm to somebody, is a background check needed?
Depending on the state where the transfer will happen. Please check other states' handgun laws for reference.
Pennsylvania Off Limits Statue
Title 18 § 912 - Possession of Weapon on School Property
(a) Definition.--Notwithstanding the definition of "weapon" in section 907 (relating to possessing instruments of crime), "weapon" for purposes of this section shall include but not be limited to any knife, cutting instrument, cutting tool, nun-chuck stick, firearm, shotgun, rifle and any other tool, instrument or implement capable of inflicting serious bodily injury.
(b) Offense Defined.--A person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree if he possesses a weapon in the buildings of, on the grounds of, or in any conveyance providing transportation to or from any elementary or secondary publicly-funded educational institution, any elementary or secondary private school licensed by the Department of Education or any elementary or secondary parochial school.
1980 Amendment. Act 167 added section 912.
Title 18 Section § 913 - Possession of firearm or other dangerous weapon in court facility
(1) knowingly possesses a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a court facility or knowingly causes a firearm or other dangerous weapon to be present in a court facility; or
(2) knowingly possesses a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a court facility with the intent that the firearm or other dangerous weapon be used in the commission of a crime or knowingly causes a firearm or other dangerous weapon to be present in a court facility with the intent that the firearm or other dangerous weapon be used in the commission of a crime.
(1) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (3), an offense under subsection (a)(1) is a misdemeanor of the third degree.
(2) An offense under subsection (a)(2) is a misdemeanor of the first degree.
(d) Notice of the provisions of subsections (a) and (e) shall be posted conspicuously at each public entrance to each courthouse or other building containing a court facility and each court facility, and no person shall be convicted of an offense under subsection (a)(1) with respect to a court facility if the notice was not so posted at each public entrance to the courthouse or other building containing a court facility and at the court facility unless the person had actual notice of the provisions of subsection (a).
(e) Each county shall make available at or within the building containing a court facility by July 1, 2002, lockers or similar facilities at no charge or cost for the temporary checking of firearms by persons carrying firearms under section 6106(b) or 6109 or for the checking of other dangerous weapons that are not otherwise prohibited by law. Any individual checking a firearm, dangerous weapon or an item deemed to be a dangerous weapon at a court facility must be issued a receipt. Notice of the location of the facility shall be posted as required under subsection (d).
(f) Definitions.--As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:
"Court facility." The courtroom of a court of record; a courtroom of a community court; the courtroom of a magisterial district judge; a courtroom of the Philadelphia Municipal Court; a courtroom of the Pittsburgh Magistrates Court; a courtroom of the Traffic Court of Philadelphia; judge's chambers; witness rooms; jury deliberation rooms; attorney conference rooms; prisoner holding cells; offices of court clerks, the district attorney, the sheriff and probation and parole officers; and any adjoining corridors. 2014 Amendment. Act 16 amended subsec.(f)
Title 18 § 5122. - Weapons or Implements for Escape.
(1) Except as provided under 61 Pa.C.S. § 5902(e.1) (relating to contraband prohibited), a person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree if he unlawfully introduces within a detention facility, correctional institution or mental hospital, or unlawfully provides an inmate thereof with any weapon, tool, implement, or other thing which may be used for escape. 2018 Amendment. Act 123 amended subsec. (a)
Title 49 § 61.1. - Additional Jurisdiction Over Properties.
The public areas of One Penn Center, 2601 North Third Street, Harrisburg, under the jurisdiction of the Department of State and subject to this chapter, include 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.
Title 49 § 61.3. - Firearms and Weapons.
The possession of firearms or other prohibited offensive weapons as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 908(c) (relating to prohibited offense weapons), while on the leased premises of the Department with the exception of State or Federal officers, in connection with the performance of an official duty, is prohibited. This prohibition does not apply to attorneys listed as counsel of record in connection with the offering of an exhibit in any administrative proceeding, if the counsel of record who intends to offer the item as an exhibit, has obtained written authorization from a hearing examiner to do so.
Title 18 § 6106. - Firearms Not to be Carried Without A License
(a) Offense defined.--
(2) A person who is otherwise eligible to possess a valid license under this chapter but carries a firearm in any vehicle or any person who carries a firearm concealed on or about his person, except in his place of abode or fixed place of business, without a valid and lawfully issued license and has not committed any other criminal violation commits a misdemeanor of the first degree.
(b) Exceptions.--The provisions of subsection (a) shall not apply to:
(15) Any person who possesses a valid and lawfully issued license or permit to carry a firearm which has been issued under the laws of another state, regardless of whether a reciprocity agreement exists between the Commonwealth and the state under section 6109(k), provided:
(i) The state provides a reciprocal privilege for individuals licensed to carry firearms under section 6109.
(ii) The Attorney General has determined that the firearm laws of the state are similar to the firearm laws of this Commonwealth. 2008 Amendment Act 131 added subsec.(b)(16)