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What Are the Gun Laws in Pennsylvania?

Did you know that in Pennsylvania, you do NOT need a license to carry a firearm in order to purchase a gun?  You don’t need a license to own a gun either.  Finally, you don’t even need a license to keep a gun in your home or place of business. So when do you need a license to carry a gun then?

The Bucks County gun possession lawyers at Young, Marr & Associates explain what you need to know about Pennsylvania gun laws and how they can affect your ability to carry a firearm.

An Overview of Gun Laws in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, the general rule is that you must have a license to carry a firearm that is concealed on or about your person or in your vehicle.  In order to obtain a license to carry a firearm, you must be 21 years of age or older and you must apply at the Sheriff’s Office located in the county in which you reside.  Once your application has been properly submitted, the Sheriff’s Office will investigate whether you qualify for a license to carry a firearm and it is required to issue a decision on whether to grant or reject your application within 45 days.  If the Sheriff’s Office refuses to issue a license, it must notify you in writing that your application has been rejected and what the specific reasons are for the rejection. The notice must also be sent to you by certified mail at the address listed in your application, according to our Bucks County Felony Discharge laweyr.

Once you have a validly issued license to carry a firearm, the license is valid in Pennsylvania for five (5) years, unless it gets revoked or taken away sooner.  At the expiration of five years, you are required to reapply for a license to carry.

Is Pennsylvania an “Open Carry” State?

Outside of the City of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is an “open carry” State, which means that certain people who are exempt from the regular licensing requirements may carry a firearm on or about their person while in public.  Those people who can carry a firearm in public without a license to carry are specifically limited to the following people/entities only:

  1. Constables, sheriffs, prison or jail wardens, or their deputies, policemen of this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions, or other law-enforcement officers.
  2. Members of the army, navy or marine corps of the United States or of the National Guard or organized reserves when on duty.
  3. The regularly enrolled members of any organization duly organized to purchase or receive such weapons from the United States or from this Commonwealth.
  4. Any persons engaged in target shooting with rifle, pistol, or revolver, if such persons are at or are going to or from their places of assembly or target practice and if, while going to or from their places of assembly or target practice, the firearm is not loaded.
  5. Officers or employees of the United States duly authorized to carry a concealed firearm.
  6. Agents, messengers and other employees of common carriers, banks, or business firms, whose duties require them to protect moneys, valuables and other property in the discharge of such duties. (Individuals carrying a firearm as an incidence of their employment are required to be certified through the Lethal Weapons Training Act requirements set forth in 22 P.S. § 44(b).
  7. Any person engaged in the business of manufacturing, repairing, or dealing in firearms, or the agent or representative of any such person, having in his possession, using or carrying a firearm in the usual or ordinary course of such business.
  8. Any person while carrying a firearm which is not loaded and is in a secure wrapper from the place of purchase.

Outside of the above-referenced people/entities, Pennsylvania Law requires you to have a validly issued license or gun permit in order to carry a firearm on your person or in your vehicle.  It should be noted, however, there these exceptions do not apply in the City of Philadelphia. Our Philadelphia weapons charge defense attorneys can help you understand the difference if you have been charged.

Can I Have My License to Carry Revoked in Pennsylvania?

As easy as it may sound for one to obtain a license to carry a firearm, it is even easier for one to have their license to carry a firearm taken away.  In Pennsylvania, the law has very strict enforcements on the do’s and don’t’s when it comes down to firearms licenses, and it gives broad powers to Courts on when a license to carry a firearm can be revoked.

In Pennsylvania, the law says that a license to carry a firearm “MAY” be revoked for “good cause.”  Good cause is not defined in the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, and a single episode is sufficient to prove good cause in order to take away a license to carry, and our Montgomery County gun possession lawyers can help if this is your first offense. In addition, the law lays out specific instances when a license “SHALL” be revoked:

  1. Character and reputation is such that the individual would be likely to act in a manner that is dangerous to public safety.
  2. Convicted of an offense under the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act.
  3. Convicted of a crime enumerated in Section 6105 of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code.
  4. Adjudicated delinquent for a crime enumerated in Section 6105 or for an offense under the Drug Act.
  5. Not of sound mind and/or committed to a mental institution.
  6. Addicted to or an unlawful user of marijuana or narcotic drug.
  7. Habitual drunkard.
  8. Charged with or convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.
  9. A resident of another state who does not possess a current license or permit to carry.
  10. Alien who is illegally in the United States.
  11. Discharged from the United States Armed Forces for dishonorable conditions.
  12. Fugitive of justice.
  13. Prohibited from possession, using, manufacturing, controlling, purchasing, selling or transferring a firearm.
  14. Prohibited from possessing or acquiring a firearm under the statutes of the United States.

If You Were Arrested for Firearm Possession, Contact Our Pennsylvania Gun Possession Lawyers Today

For more information on the rules and regulations on guns in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, speak with a qualified gun expert today to learn more. Our Allentown, PA gun possession attorneys can help you keep your license to carry or avoid penalties for firearm possession. Call our law offices today at (215) 372-8667 for a free consultation.

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