When it comes to gun laws, the specifics can change from state to state. In many states, law-abiding citizens can carry their firearms concealed without a specific permit. In Pennsylvania, along with several states, however, citizens must get a license for concealed carry.
Did Pennsylvania pass constitutional carry?
Senate Bill 565, the bill to amend this law and allow constitutional carry for citizens, was vetoed last week by the Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf.
According to the current requirements in Pennsylvania, a citizen needs to pass a background check, provide two references who aren’t family members, and pay the $20 application fee to get a concealed carry license. However, many believe that this process is excessive since citizens are already required to pass a background check to acquire a firearm in the first place.
Those in favor of the law as it currently exists claim that since these licenses must be renewed every five years with a fresh background check, Pennsylvania’s residents are safer than they would be if constitutional carry were to pass.
“[SB565] removes the requirement that an individual obtains a license, and with it, the ability of law enforcement to conduct a background investigation. Removal of the licensing background investigation will hinder the ability of law enforcement to prevent individuals who should not be able to carry a firearm concealed from doing so,” said Governor Wolf.
The Governor also stated that The Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association and the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association stand with him in opposition to this law.
The Pennsylvania constitutional carry vote was sponsored by Senator Cris Dush, who said in his statement that criminals don’t wait for their concealed carry license before they take their pistols to commit a crime, but that every day, honest, law-abiding citizens have to wait for their permits to legally carry their firearms and defend themselves against criminals.
The President of the Pennsylvania Senate, Jake Corman, also opposed governor Wolf’s actions, saying that they were “disappointing,” as he expressed that the citizens of Pennsylvania deserve to have peace of mind, knowing that they can use their firearms to defend themselves against violent crime if they had to.
From a political standpoint, the legislators were certain that this bill won’t be approved, especially with a sitting democrat majority. Analysts believe that they only pushed it to force the Democrat governor to veto the bill, and hence provide them more ammunition for the next 2022 gubernatorial election.
All and all, even though there are loud voices on both sides of the argument, for the time being, the legislation requiring citizens to pass additional background checks for concealed carry will stand, and Pennsylvanians will need to apply for concealed carry permits to carry their guns, even if they can legally own them.
Can you open carry in Pennsylvania without a permit?
Well, if concealed carry isn’t allowed in Pennsylvania, what about open carry? Here’s the
answer from our Pennsylvania Concealed Carry Reciprocity Map & Gun Laws page:
“Any person 18 years or older who is legally permitted to carry a firearm may open carry. An LCF (for residents) or a license or permit from a reciprocating state (for nonresidents) is required to open carry or carry in a vehicle in Philadelphia.”
To learn more about firearms and carry laws in your state, check out our nationwide online or in-person concealed carry training classes. Find the class nearest to you today!