Carrying a Gun in Pennsylvania

While the right to bear arms is an important one in the United States, there are some necessary precautions set forth in law that must be followed. These regulations typically cover when it is legal to carry a firearm, where it is legal to carry a firearm, and who can carry a firearm. It is important to understand these rules in order to avoid accidentally breaking the law and encountering potential legal ramifications.

Let’s look at gun carrying law in Pennsylvania and what you need to know to keep yourself safe.

Who can carry a concealed gun in PA?

In order to carry a concealed firearm in PA, you must apply for a license to carry. Individuals who are 21 years or older are permitted to seek the license by submitting a completed application to your county sheriff. If you live in Philadelphia, submit the application to the chief of police instead. Note that carrying a concealed firearm on your person outside of your home or business without a valid license is a third-degree felony.

It is generally not permissible to carry a loaded “long gun” in vehicles regardless of license status. Long guns include:

  • Pistols or revolvers whose barrel length is greater than 15 inches.
  • Shotguns with barrel lengths greater than 18 inches.
  • Rifles with a barrel length that is 16 inches or more.
  • Any rifle, shotgun, revolver, or pistol more than 26 inches in total length.

Note that a few provisions exist that allow individuals to carry a firearm in their vehicle without a valid license. If you are traveling to target practice or from target practice, for example, you may have a firearm in the vehicle as long as it is unloaded and its shells or cartridges are in a separate container. Employees or officers of the United States who are authorized to carry a concealed gun as well as employees, messengers, or agents of businesses or banks who must protect valuable property or money as part of their professional duties are also exempt from this provision. Carrying a firearm secured in a wrapper while moving or taking the firearm from work to home and vice versa is also permitted.

For other provisions and regulations, reach out to a Pennsylvania attorney experienced with gun law.

Who can open carry in Pennsylvania?

Unlike concealed weapons, Pennsylvania law is largely silent on open carrying regulations. There are, however, a few rules to keep in mind. In order to open carry in the state, you must be at least 18 years old. If you are in a “city of the first class” such as Philadelphia, you must apply for your license to carry. If you are in the rest of the state, however, you are generally allowed to open carry without a permit.

This does not apply to carrying your firearm in a vehicle. The vehicle regulations discussed in the previous section hold true for open carrying, too.

For more information about gun laws in PA, reach out to the knowledgeable staff at Bonner Law! We can keep you on the right side of the law with gun-related queries.