Pennsylvania Gun Laws
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
STATE CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISION - Article 1, Section 21.
“The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.”
Gun Laws Overview
|RIFLES & SHOTGUNS||HANDGUNS|
|Permit to Purchase||No||No|
|Registration of Firearms||No||No|
|Licensing of Owners||No||No|
|Permit to Carry||No||Yes|
The list and map below are included as a tool to assist you in validating your information. We have made every effort to report the information correctly, however reciprocity and recognition agreements are subject to frequent change. The information is not intended as legal advice or a restatement of law and does not include: restrictions that may be placed on non-resident permits, individuals under the age of 21, qualifying permit classes, and/or any other factor which may limit reciprocity and/or recognition. For any particular situation, a licensed local attorney must be consulted for an accurate interpretation. YOU MUST ABIDE WITH ALL LAWS: STATE, FEDERAL AND LOCAL.
Pennsylvania does not recognize non-resident permits or licenses from Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, Utah and Virginia.
Pennsylvania only honors North Dakota Class 1 permits.
|No-Net Loss||No Legislation|
|Right to Carry Confidentiality||Provisions Enacted|
|Right to Carry in Restaurants||Legal|
|Right To Carry Laws||Shall Issue|
|Right To Carry Reciprocity and Recognition||Conditional Recognition|
|Right to Keep & Bear Arms State Constitutional Provisions||With Provisions|
Laws on Purchase, Possession and Carrying of Firearms
Definition of Firearm
The Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act defines “firearm” as “any pistol or revolver with a barrel less than 15 inches, any shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches, any rifle with a barrel of less than 16 inches or any pistol, revolver, rifle or shotgun with an overall length of less than 26 inches.” However, several sections of the law include a broader definition that includes all firearms, i.e. handguns, rifles and shotguns, and pertains to that section only. The distinction should be closely noted when interpreting the statutes.
Any individual or dealer selling a handgun is required to sell or transfer it at the place of business of a licensed dealer or county sheriff’s office. Transfers of all firearms (handguns, rifles and shotguns) by a licensed dealer are subject to an instant records check of the purchaser. The purchaser must sign a transfer application/record of sale for the purchase of a handgun. No transfer application/record is necessary to transfer a rifle or shotgun. There is a $2 fee for the instant check and a $3 firearm sale surcharge to cover telephone costs. Transfers of handguns between spouses, parent and child, grandparent and grandchild or between active law enforcement officers are exempt from the above requirements. Rifles and shotguns may be transferred between unlicensed individuals. Antique firearms are exempt from the requirements regarding transfer of firearms through dealers.MORE
It is unlawful for any licensee to sell, deliver or transfer any handgun, other than an antique firearm, to any person unless the transferee is provided or purchases a locking device for that firearm, or the design of the firearm incorporates a locking device. Exempt from this requirement are transfers between licensed dealers and any law enforcement officer. A locking device is a device that when installed on a firearm prevents the firearm from being operated without deactivating the device or a device that is incorporated into the design of a firearm and that is designed to prevent the operation of the firearm by anyone not having access to the device.
It is unlawful to lend, give, or otherwise transfer a handgun unless exempted by law or by following the procedure previously described. Exempted is a person who receives the handgun and has a license to carry; or who is engaged in a Pennsylvania Game Commission or NRA hunter safety, firearm training, or competition program; or who is engaged in hunting or trapping. Also exempted is the loaning or giving of a handgun to another person who will remain within the transferor’s dwelling or place of business; a transfer to carry out a bequest or intestate succession; and a person under 18 who is under the direct supervision of a responsible person at least 21.
No person may knowingly or intentionally transfer any firearm to any person who is prohibited from possession. No Pennsylvania resident who may lawfully purchase, possess, sell, or transfer a firearm shall be prohibited from purchasing or otherwise obtaining a rifle or shotgun in a jurisdiction outside the Commonwealth. Persons convicted of drunk driving three times within a five-year period may possess but may not purchase a firearm. A person with certain disabling convictions that keep him or her from purchasing and possessing firearms may apply to the Court of Common Pleas for restoration of his or her firearms rights. Such restoration does not constitute a pardon or guarantee an expungement of a criminal record. Free brochures summarizing state law relating to the buying, selling, and transferring of firearms shall be provided by the State Police to every licensed firearms dealer and each individual who purchases a firearm from a licensed dealer.LESS
No license is required to possess rifles and shotguns, or to possess handguns in one’s home or place of business. It is unlawful for the following to possess a firearm:MORE
It is unlawful to possess any firearm:MORE
Any person carrying a handgun in any vehicle or concealed on or about his person’ is required to have a license to carry or a Sportsman’s Firearm Permit (good only for hunting, fishing, trapping and dog training).
Transportation in a Vehicle
A handgun being transported in a vehicle without a license to carry must be unloaded and must be carried under one of the exceptions listed above under ‘Carry.’ Rifles and shotguns may be transported in a vehicle as long as they are unloaded.MORE
While transporting a firearm without a license, it is up to the person carrying the firearm to demonstrate that one of the exceptions applies. A law enforcement officer may demand such evidence.LESS
“Antique firearm” means:MORE
Generally, antique firearms are exempt from Pennsylvania’s Uniform Firearms Act. However, antique firearms are not exempt from the provisions relating to carrying without a license or possession by prohibited persons.LESS
Most items that are required to be registered under the National Firearms Act such as machine guns, suppressors, short barreled rifles and shotguns, are prohibited in Pennsylvania as “offensive weapons” unless they are registered under the NFA.MORE
It is an affirmative defense for those found in possession of NFA weapons if proven by a preponderance of the evidence that there were possessed:
18 PA. STAT. ANN. §6120 (2011)
18 PA. STAT. ANN. §6120 (2011)
§ 6120. Limitation on the regulation of firearms and ammunition
(a) General rule.--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.
(a.1) No right of action.--
(1) No political subdivision may bring or maintain an action at law or in equity against any firearms or ammunition manufacturer, trade association or dealer for damages, abatement, injunctive relief or any other relief or remedy resulting from or relating to either the lawful design or manufacture of firearms or ammunition or the lawful marketing or sale of firearms or ammunition to the public.
(2) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit a political subdivision from bringing or maintaining an action against a firearms or ammunition manufacturer or dealer for breach of contract or warranty as to firearms or ammunition purchased by the political subdivision.
(b) Definitions.--As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:
"Dealer." The term shall include any person engaged in the business of selling at wholesale or retail a firearm or ammunition.
"Firearms." This term shall have the meaning given to it in section 5515(relating to prohibiting of paramilitary training) but shall not include air rifles as that term is defined in section 6304 ( relating to sale and use of air rifles).
"Political subdivision." The term shall include any home rule charter municipality, county, city, borough, incorporated town, township or school district.LESS
35 PA. STAT. ANN. § 4501 (2011)
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.LESS
The state legislature has preempted the field of firearm regulation. No county, municipality or township may in any manner regulate the lawful ownership, possession or transportation of firearms, ammunition or ammunition components when carried or transported for purposes not prohibited by the laws of the Commonwealth.MORE
No political subdivision may bring or maintain an action at law or in equity against any firearm or ammunition manufacturer, trade association or dealer for damages, abatement, injunctive relief or any other relief or remedy resulting from or relating to either the lawful design or manufacture of firearms or ammunition or the lawful marketing or sale of firearms or ammunition to the public. This does not prevent a political subdivision from bringing an action for breach of contract or warranty for firearms or ammunition purchased by the political subdivision.
It is a felony to alter, change, remove or obliterate the manufacturer’s number integral to the frame or receiver of a firearm, or to possess a firearm that has been so altered. This does not apply to antique firearms.
Nothing in the law allows a government agency or an agent thereof to create, maintain, or operate any registry of firearms ownership within the Commonwealth.LESS
Friday, May 21, 2021
House Judiciary Chairman Rob Kaufman has announced that he plans to report a constitutional carry bill out of ...
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
Late last month, President Joe Biden used his first address to a joint session of Congress to push ...
Friday, January 29, 2021
Last Saturday, the Pennsylvania Game Commission gave preliminary approval to expanded Sunday Hunting opportunities.
Friday, January 22, 2021
Coming off a successful hunting season where additional Sunday hunting opportunities were permitted in Pennsylvania for the first ...
Wednesday, January 6, 2021
The world has said “good riddance” to 2020 and ushered in a new year. Although 2020 was a ...
Friday, December 4, 2020
Last week, Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a pair of pro-Second Amendment bills that had passed both chambers of the Legislature with solid support.
Thursday, November 19, 2020
On Wednesday, the Senate voted on a pair of pro-Second Amendment bills, giving the legislation final approval and ...
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Philadelphia residents say the city is forcing them to wait months to apply for gun-carry permits—far beyond the ...
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
During a Democratic primary debate in September 2019, former Texas Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke made an astonishing, yet ...
Monday, September 14, 2020
Former mechanic Shawn Shriver bought a storefront about an hour outside Pittsburgh years ago. He created a 400-square-foot ...