ATTENTION GUN OWNERS & FUTURE GUN OWNERS: GET CONCEALED CARRY CERTIFIED BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE

Pennsylvania Concealed Carry Reciprocity Map & Gun Laws

Everything you need to know about owning a firearm in the state of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania State Seal

Pennsylvania Reciprocity Map

Last Updated: 2021

Pennsylvania Concealed Carry Reciprocity Overview

12.8M

STATE POPULATION

1.4M

LICENSES ISSUED

10.93%

LICENSE PERCENTAGE

29

STATES HONORED

21

MINIMUM AGE TO CC

5

YEARS LICENSE VALID

32

RECIPROCATING STATES

NO

CONSTITUTIONAL CARRY

TBA

CC CERTIFIED INSTRUCTORS

Being fully aware of your gun rights and state laws is the first step toward responsible firearm ownership. The next is understanding how Pennsylvania concealed carry laws translate across state lines. The state has issued 1.4 million concealed carry (CC) licenses, for example, equating to just over 10.9% of the state’s 12.8 million people. The minimum age to CC in Pennsylvania is 21, and the license is valid for five years.

If you are interested in obtaining your concealed carry permit, you need an education partner you can trust. Concealed Coalition has trained over a million U.S. citizens on how to carry their weapons safely and effectively. Contact us to find online or local training to get your CC license.

Pennsylvania Concealed Carry Laws and Reciprocity

Summary of Pennsylvania Gun Laws

Your Pennsylvania Gun Rights

Pennsylvania is a shall-issue state, which means individuals seeking to own a handgun must meet state eligibility requirements and pass a background check. Successfully doing so as defined in items C and D will require either the chief of police or a County Sheriff’s Office to issue a Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms (LCF), depending on how the application was submitted.

State police keep a record of all handguns purchased, but no registration or permit is required to make that purchase. Only the County Sheriff’s Office or a licensed dealer may conduct private-party firearm transfers unless the transfer takes place between immediate family or married partners.

Each state has its own gun laws, and that can make it challenging to keep those for your home area straight. Pennsylvania currently has reciprocity agreements with 32 states. Here is a summary of Pennsylvania’s existing laws:

Open Carry in Pennsylvania

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.

Concealed Carry in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania residents in possession of their LCF may CC in the state, as can nonresidents with a license or permit from a reciprocating state. This out-of-state qualification also authorizes nonresidents to seek their Pennsylvania LCF while in the state.

Self Defense Laws in Pennsylvania

A CC license is a powerful way to protect yourself and others. It is crucial to know where the line is when it comes to self-defense under the law to avoid excessive action.

Use of Force

Use of force in self-defense or defense of someone else is justifiable in Pennsylvania if the user believes they or the third party were in legitimate danger from unlawful force, a threatening object, or a deadly weapon. It is also acceptable in preventing illegal entry or theft. 

Use of Deadly Force

This is only justifiable under the reasonable belief that it is necessary to prevent serious bodily harm, sexual assault, kidnap, or death from being perpetrated on the user or a third party. The aggressor must have been either attempting to unlawfully enter a dwelling, occupied vehicle, or residence or believed to have entered under such circumstances (item 2.1-i and ii).

Protecting Yourself After Use of Force

Your legal position after the use of force depends on how authorities view the act. Acting with a reasonable belief of imminent harm in response to an immediate threat may be viewed as justified if the use of force did not persist after the danger had ended. 

Firearms training is an excellent way to gain the skills necessary to gauge threat levels. Concealed Coalition knows how to train people to become responsible, certified gun owners. Classes are available locally and online.

Pennsylvania Gun Laws by Statute

CC licensing is an issue that raises many questions. The answers are essential knowledge that will guide you safely through any Pennsylvania location and even the most stringent local and site-specific regulations.

Concealed Coalition is dedicated to dispelling the myths surrounding gun ownership and promoting a culture of understanding, responsibility, and confidence. Our certified instructors are qualified across multiple states, and our online or local training classes provide convenient learning environments run by instructors who care.

Contact us today at (717) 204-4119 or email to discuss your concealed carry permit educational needs.

Quick Links

Pennsylvania Concealed Carry Training Course with State Certified Instructors

CONCEALED CARRY BASICS IN PENNSYLVANIA

QUESTION

ANSWER

Does Pennsylvania recognize constitutional carry?

No.

Is open carry permitted in Pennsylvania?

Open carry is permitted in Pennsylvania. However, gun owners cannot openly carry in Philadelphia or in vehicles where a license to carry a firearm is required.

If Pennsylvania requires a license to carry a concealed firearm, how are those licenses issued?

Pennsylvania is a shall-issue state with concealed weapons licenses issued at the county level by the sheriff’s office. For cities of “the first class,” such as Philadelphia, residents are issued a license by the chief of police of the city. 

What is the minimum age in Pennsylvania to get a concealed carry license?

Pennsylvania residents must be 21 years old to be issued a concealed carry permit.

Can you concealed carry weapons other than handguns in Pennsylvania with a concealed carry license (or under permit-less carry if applicable)?

A License to Carry Firearms is issued to carry a firearm concealed on one’s person or in a vehicle within this Commonwealth. 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.

Is it legal to own a taser or stun gun in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania residents may legally own and carry a stun gun without a permit for use in self-defense. State laws states that it is a misdemeanor to use a stun gun for reasons other than self-defense.

Is it legal to buy or use chemical spray/pepper spray in Pennsylvania?

There are no laws prohibiting Pennsylvania residents from carry pepper spray. However, residents may not carry in select areas, such as schools and courthouses. 

Does Pennsylvania have magazine capacity restrictions for handguns?

No.

Does Pennsylvania have ammunition restrictions?

The possession of armor-piercing or Teflon-coated ammunition is prohibited while committing or attempting to commit a crime. 

CONCEALED CARRY LOCATIONS IN PENNSYLVANIA

QUESTION

ANSWER

Where can't I carry a concealed firearm in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania law prohibits carrying a concealed weapon in several places, including:

  • Courthouses
  • Detention facilities and correctional institutions
  • Secured airport areas
  • Buildings and parks owned by the city of Philadelphia
  • Public areas in One Penn Center
  • Areas of private property where some form of “no firearms” notification has been made clear
  • Any location where regulations of state or federal authorities prohibit firearms

It is always best practice to call ahead and speak with someone at your intended destination to be sure of their stance on carrying firearms.

Where can I carry a concealed firearm in Pennsylvania?

Licensed individuals may CC in:

  • Roadside rest areas
  • Places of worship with the owner’s permission
  • In restaurants and bars
  • In national or state forests and national or state parks

It should be reiterated that contacting your intended destination in advance is an excellent way to dispel any doubts about CC permissions.

Can you carry a concealed handgun in a vehicle in Pennsylvania?

Yes, with a state issued permit. However, no person, even the holder of a license to carry a firearm, may carry a loaded long gun in a vehicle. Pennsylvania law also provides that “any person who carries a firearm in any vehicle without a valid license is committing a felony.

Can you carry a concealed firearm at roadside rest areas in Pennsylvania?

Yes, with a Pennsylvania concealed carry license, or a license from a state that Pennsylvania recognizes reciprocity. 

Can you carry a concealed firearm in state/national parks, state/national forest and Wildlife Management Areas in Pennsylvania?

Yes, it is legal to carry a firearm in any state park, state wildlife management area (WMA), state & national wildlife areas and refuges, national forests, and national parks.

Can you carry a concealed firearm in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol in Pennsylvania?

Yes.

Can you carry or possess a firearm on hotel property in Pennsylvania?

Some premises may allow CC weapons to be checked in and stored, while others may not allow any firearms. Check with the hotel in advance to clarify rules before entering the premises.

Does Pennsylvania have laws relating to storing firearms in private vehicles in an employee parking lot?

This is not defined under Pennsylvania state laws. The best course of action would be to speak with your employer about their policy, or with the owner of the property on which your place of employment resides. Assurances that the weapon will be securely stored and out of sight in the vehicle will demonstrate a responsible attitude that may assist your request.

IMPORTANT GUNS LAWS IN PENNSYLVANIA

QUESTION

ANSWER

Do you have a duty to notify a police officer that you're carrying a concealed firearm in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania does not require voluntary disclosure, only that the license be produced upon the request of a law enforcement officer. It is good practice, however, to voluntarily inform the officer that you are a CC licensee. This is an act of good faith and shows you are a responsible and cooperative gun owner.

Are "No Weapons Allowed? signs enforced in Pennsylvania? If, yes, violating the sign would be considered to be a crime. If, no, violating the sign would not be considered a criminal offense.

No, but it is always vital to respect the wishes of private property owners as regards the allowing of firearms on their property. It will result in a charge of defiant trespass if a CC licensee continues to remain in or on private property when asked to leave on grounds of carrying a firearm.

Does Pennsylvania have preemption laws related to concealed carry (i.e., Does state law supersede local laws regarding the possession of handguns)?

Yes. The state reserves the authority to regulate firearms.

Does Pennsylvania have a red flag law?

No.

Does Pennsylvania state law define brandishing?

Disorderly conduct is clearly defined in state legislation as any behavior that creates inconvenience, alarm, or risk. It may be confidently stated that any irresponsible display or use of a firearm would constitute an offense under these regulations.

Does Pennsylvania have laws regarding carrying a concealed firearm while using alcohol or chemical substances?

Pennsylvania law does not clearly define this matter in state legislation, but their anti-drug stance regarding firearms is clear elsewhere. Even the smallest drug-related misdemeanor will result in being prevented from obtaining a CC permit or in having it revoked. Possession of a dangerous controlled substance is punishable without a valid medical prescription. Offenders face fines and jail time.

Does Pennsylvania issue concealed carry licenses to non-residents?

Yes. An out-of-state qualification from a reciprocating state also authorizes nonresidents to seek their Pennsylvania LCF.

Does Pennsylvania allow the public to access concealed carry registry information through public records law?

No.

Can I Carry a Firearm While Hunting or Fishing in Pennsylvania?

This is permitted if the individual is in possession of their Pennsylvania LCF or a license or permit from a state with which Pennsylvania has reciprocity.

HANDGUN PURCHASE & POSSESSION IN PENNSYLVANIA

QUESTION

ANSWER

Is a permit required to purchase a handgun in Pennsylvania?

No, a person doesn’t need to obtain a permit or a license to purchase or own a firearm.

Are background checks required for private gun sales in Pennsylvania?

Yes, federal law requires licensed firearms dealers to acquire a background in Pennsylvania—even private gun sales. These requirements do not apply to transfers between spouses, parents and children or grandparents and grandchildren. 

Does my current Pennsylvania concealed carry license exempt me from needing a background check when I purchase firearm? 

No.

Is there a waiting period after purchasing a handgun in Pennsylvania?

No, Pennsylvania does not enforce a waiting period for the purchase of a handgun. 

Do handguns need to be registered in Pennsylvania?

No.

What is the minimum age to possess and transport a handgun in Pennsylvania?

According to 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 6110.1, 18 years old is the minimum age to possess or transport a firearm in Pennsylvania. 

Can I possess/carry a handgun in my home in Pennsylvania without a license? 

You are allowed to carry a firearm in your home and fixed place of business without a license.

PENNSYLVANIA CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE INFORMATION

Concealed Carry Requirements to Register for a License in Pennsylvania

An applicant 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 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 federal law requirements.

Fees:

$20 for initial licensing and renewal.

Valid For:

5 years

Processing Time:

45 days

Applications:

Click here to begin your Pennsylvania concealed carry permit licensing process.

Non-Resident Concealed Carry License:

Non-residents who possess a current license or permit or similar document to carry a firearm issued by their home state (if a license is provided for by the laws of that state) may apply for a non-resident license. The process is similar to that for residents. A Pennsylvania non-resident permit is valid for 5 years, and is tied to your resident license. If your resident permit expires or is revoked, it is no longer valid.  

Name & Address Changes:

If you change your address, or your name is legally changed, you need to go to your county/city Sheriff’s Office for the update. You will need an updated PA driver’s license or ID with the new address or name and $5.00. Your card will be issued for the balance of your time. If your expiration is within 60 days, you can renew with an application.

Lost or Stolen Licenses:

Go to your county/city sheriff’s office to have your Pennsylvania LCF replaced. You will need a valid driver’s license or state ID and $5.00. 

Residency Changes:

Pennsylvania issues licenses to residents and permit holders from other states. You can apply for your resident license to the sheriff of your county once you have been a resident of the county for at least 90 days.

PENNSYLVANIA CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE APPLICATION PROCESS

OVERVIEW

Some counties require that applications be submitted in person and not all counties process out-of-state licenses. 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 One:

Download and complete the application or go to your county sheriff’s office to obtain an application. Some counties offer online applications for residents only. Non-residents should verify that a county sheriff’s office processes out-of-state licenses and the procedure they follow.

Step Two:

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. You will need to pay the license fee and have your photo taken. 

Step Three:

You will be notified by mail within 45 days if you passed your background check and your application is approved (this may happen more quickly for select applicants).

PENNSYLVANIA CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE RENEWAL PROCESS

Step One:

The exact process can vary between counties, but there are universal aspects to renewal. Applicants must fill out and submit the form, which they can either pick up from a law enforcement office or download. Renewals may be submitted up to 60 days before license expiration, while licenses expired for more than 60 days will be classed as a new application.

Step Two:

Submission requires:

  • A driver’s license with current address
  • The expired handgun license
  • Two passport photographs if selecting an option that requires your image
  • Passport, naturalization, or proof of immigration paperwork if you are a foreign U.S. citizen or not currently a citizen

Always call your local law enforcement office for the precise details and submission documents required for renewal. You may need to schedule an appointment with the sheriff’s office to renew your handgun license, the procedure will vary between counties.

Step Three:

You will be notified by mail when your renewal application is approved.

Concealed Carry for Law Enforcement Officers and Retired LEOs

Federal law H.R. 218 allows active and retired law enforcement officers (LEOs) to CC, but there are parameters. They are still subject to the rule of private property, for example, and are forbidden to CC on a plane. State or government-owned properties may also exercise prohibitions. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Pennsylvania Code Chapter 221 details the complete process for RLEOs to gain their CC license. RLEOs must receive an ID card from the law enforcement agency they served until retirement and complete an acknowledgment form stating that they understand and meet the requirements of Pa. Code §221.31.
  • They must then qualify for firearms competency annually under an instructor licensed through the Retired Law Enforcement Identification Act (RLEIA). Retired LEOs then must have their card validated by a confirmation number that is issued only after a background check by their County Sheriff’s office.
  • Important note: Pennsylvania law requires that Act 235 be observed. This requires gaining a further certificate of training or waiver of such through a Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) program if undertaking certain employment.

Those with previous law enforcement training have the option to apply for a waiver, but other parties are likely to have to complete the training. Special considerations may apply, so contact the PSP for more details.

Firearms Training & Competency

The certified instructors at Concealed Coalition will teach you the applicable laws for Pennsylvania concealed carry and how to carry and fire a firearm safely. Training is available across the U.S. and online, so contact us with any questions or to sign up.

Proper firearms training is essential for any individual with the right to carry a gun, especially those who do not receive training as part of their employment. Pennsylvania citizens can get the following types:

NRA Training

The National Rifle Association offers several types of training at a wide range of locations. Use its local training locator to find classes near you as well as specific lessons.

Hunter Safety Courses

Free in-person classes are available in Pennsylvania and provide nationally recognized certification. Firearms basics and safety are part of the curriculum. Courses may also be taken online in one of two forms that are either free or cost $19.95.

Firearms Safety Courses From Other Providers

Public and private institutions, colleges, or law enforcement agencies often provide firearms training. Pennsylvania recognizes three classes of safety instructors – academic, skills, and firearms – all of whom must be certified by the police commissioner. Be sure to check any instructor’s qualifications before committing to their class.

A Firearms Training Course With a State-Certified Instructor

Concealed Coalition offers firearms training to help you gain a CC license. Our highly specialized instructors provide actionable lessons based on their extensive practical experience to ensure you gain tested and reliable skills.

DD Form 214 or Military Orders for Active or Former Military Members

The military document DD 214 is issued when a service member performs active duty or has completed at least 90 consecutive days of active-duty training. Pennsylvanians can locate their DD 214 via the DMVA.

Get Certified for a Pennsylvania Concealed Carry Permit Today

Our network of firearms professionals are holding training classes and in-person certification courses throughout Pennsylvania. Use our certification locator to enroll in an upcoming firearms training course near you today, or visit our Pennsylvania concealed carry permitting resource for online certification.

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