Concealed Carry Reciprocity in Pennsylvania
In 2013, 27-year-old Pennsylvania resident Shaneen Allen was pulled over for a routine traffic stop while driving through New Jersey. Wanting to be compliant, Allen indicated that she had a .380 caliber handgun in her purse. Allen was immediately arrested for unlawful possession of a weapon – even though she was licensed to carry the gun in her home state of Pennsylvania. Fortunately for Allen, her story stirred up public outcry and she was later pardoned by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Despite its happy ending, Allen’s story is a somber reminder of what can happen when gun reciprocity laws are forgotten or ignored. In this article, our criminal defense lawyers will cover which states honor Pennsylvania gun permits, and explain some of Pennsylvania’s gun laws.
States That Have Concealed Carry Permits
Gun laws are wildly different depending on where you live. Some states, such as Utah and Alaska, are known for their lenient laws and have become havens for hunters and gun enthusiasts alike. Others, such as California and New Jersey, impose some of the toughest gun laws in the United States. Thanks to these dramatic variations, it’s easy to see how someone could get into the sort of situation Shaneen Allen found herself in.
Gun reciprocity laws, where two states agree to honor each others’ permits, have been established to provide a greater degree of consistency. As a Pennsylvania resident, it’s important for you to know which states do (and don’t) share reciprocity with Pennsylvania. Otherwise, you could find yourself charged with gun possession while traveling out of state.
As Shaneen Allen learned the hard way, New Jersey does not honor Pennsylvania permits. Other states which also do not honor Pennsylvania gun permits are listed below:
- New Mexico
- New York/New York City
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- District of Columbia
The following states do honor Pennsylvania concealed carry permits:
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
As you can visualize based on these lists, driving north, east, or southeast could cause problems as you pass through states like New York and New Jersey, which do not honor Pennsylvania gun permits. The only two reciprocal states with which Pennsylvania shares a border are Ohio to the west, and West Virginia to the southwest.
Interestingly, these “reciprocal” arrangements aren’t always double-sided. For example, Idaho honors Pennsylvania permits, but Pennsylvania does not honor Idaho permits. However, Idaho is the rare exception: the vast majority of reciprocity agreements are truly reciprocal between both states.
Pennsylvania Gun Laws: Bans and Prohibitions
While it’s important to be aware of Pennsylvania’s gun reciprocity laws, traveling out-of-state isn’t the only mistake which can get you into legal trouble where weapons are concerned. There are also certain places inside Pennsylvania’s borders where you could be arrested for having a gun – even if you have the appropriate permit. For example, Philadelphia observes a city ordinance banning firearms in all city parks, such as LOVE Park (JFK Plaza) and Rittenhouse Square.
There are also several statutes which apply statewide, including the following:
- 18 PA Cons. Stat. § 913 – This statute makes it illegal to possess a firearm (“or other dangerous weapon”) at a court.
- Note the use of the phrase “possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapon.” As defined by the same statute, “other dangerous weapons” include knives, brass knuckles, switchblades, blackjacks/billy clubs, bombs, and other explosive/incendiary devices.
- Of course, this law makes exceptions for court officials who need to be armed, or attorneys who are presenting guns as evidence.
- 18 PA Cons. Stat. § 912 – This statute makes it illegal to possess any weapon while on school property.
- “School property” doesn’t just mean the structure itself. It also includes school buses, school playgrounds, and school parking lots.
- Again, “weapons” means more than just guns. Defined most broadly, prohibited weapons encompass any “instrument or implement capable of inflicting serious bodily injury.”
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Lawyers Offering Free Consultations
If you’ve been charged with gun possession or other weapons crimes in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, you’re facing tough criminal penalties. You need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side in court. To set up a free, completely confidential legal consultation, call the law offices of Young, Marr & Associates right away at (609) 755-3115 in New Jersey or (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania.
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Commonwealth v. "H" (DUI case)
Client was charged with three separate DUI cases calling for mandatory minimum imprisonment of 90 days on each case. Client was advised to seek immediate intensive alcohol counseling. Client was sentenced to 1 year of house arrest after serving 3 days in the county prison.
Commonwealth v. "C" (Felony drug/Firearms case)
Client was charged with felony Delivery of drugs and illegal gun possession and was facing a mandatory 3-6 year prison sentence in the State prison system. Client was sentenced to one year of house arrest.
Commonwealth v. "S"
Client was charged with simple assault, domestic. After a hearing where evidence and testimony was presented, the entire case was dismissed by Judge Leonard Brown.
State of New Jersey v. "H"
Charges for young man charged with second degree aggravated assault were downgraded to third degree and he was accepted into the County Pretrial Intervention program with charges to be dismissed and record expunged after one year of misconduct free behavior.
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