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Pennsylvania Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW): Gun Laws, Application, Requirements & Online Training

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Pennsylvania has a shall-issue policy for concealed firearm permits, done at the county level by the local sheriff’s office.

For first-class residents of the state, the head of police in a city of residence will oversee the application process.

Pennsylvania CCW permit application is open to both residents and non-residents of the state.

Also, there is no purchase permit requirement for buying and selling firearms in the state. But a background check, also done by the sheriff’s office, is compulsory.

Before you conceal carry in Pennsylvania, you must be aware of all the gun laws in the state and their applications.

Pennsylvania Gun Laws.

Pennsylvania issues a license to carry for those who intend to conceal carry in the state.

Non-residents may also conceal carry with a permit from any of the states that Pennsylvania reciprocates.

You must be at least twenty-one years old before Pennsylvania concealed carry permit applications.

For non-residents going through the application process, you must provide a permit from your state of residence.

Pennsylvania CCW Permit Reciprocity

In terms of reciprocity, Pennsylvania will accept a permit from any state that it has a deal with.

Other aspects of Pennsylvania CCW permit reciprocity includes the following:

  • States that Pennsylvania will respect their CCW permits: Pennsylvania will respect any concealed firearm license issued by these states, and there are twenty-nine of them.
  • States that will accept a Pennsylvania issued CCW permit: You can conceal carry with Pennsylvania license to carry in these states. There are fifteen of them.
  • States that have restricted reciprocity deal with Pennsylvania: Even though Pennsylvania is one of the states in America that issues both residents and non-residents permit, you can only conceal carry with a permit that is tagged residents-only in these states. There are three of them.
  • States that have permitless carry policy: You can conceal carry in these states with or without a CCW permit. However, you must meet the age requirement provided by the state, as well as other gun laws restrictions in the states. There are fourteen of them.

Make sure that you are familiar with gun laws and how to handle firearms correctly in the state that you want to conceal carry because you must always operate your firearm according to state laws.

Other things you must know about concealed carry in various states include location restriction, how to deal with firearms correctly, etc.

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Location Restrictions In Pennsylvania

Even if you have a Pennsylvania CCW permit, some areas are out of bound for you to possess your firearms.

Being with your guns in these places can lead to serious charges from the law enforcement agencies.

So to prevent this, you need to be aware of places where you can and cannot conceal carry in the state.

Places Where You Cannot Conceal Carry In Pennsylvania

  • You are not allowed to conceal carry within the building and premises of secondary and elementary schools, as well as the school vehicles.
  • You are not allowed to conceal carry in off-limits areas of courthouses in Pennsylvania.
  • You are not allowed to conceal carry in prisons, jails, and detention facilities.
  • You are not allowed to conceal carry in mental homes and psychiatric hospitals.
  • You are not allowed to conceal carry in places such as Penn center, Harrisburg, and some facilities under the State Government Athletic Commission and the Bureau of Professional Occupation affair.
  • You are not allowed to conceal carry in buildings and properties that do not belong to you.
  • You are not allowed to conceal carry in safety areas of an airport, except during transportation of a firearm, in which case, it must be safe, unloaded, and enclosed.
  • You are not allowed to conceal carry in places where federal law restricts CCW.

Places Where You Can Conceal Carry In Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, unlike some other states in the country, you can conceal carry in the following places or situations:

Bars and restaurants: You can conceal carry in bars and restaurants that do not have a post prohibiting the possession of firearms.

Personal vehicle: You can conceal carry in your car, but make sure that you have your CCW permit with you.

  • Roadsides: You can conceal along roadsides and recreational areas in the state.
  • State/national forest and parks: You can conceal carry in these places, as well as wildlife management areas.
  • Places of worship: You can conceal carry without a restriction in places of worship. However, because these places identify as private properties too, they may carry posts to prohibit you from concealed carry.

Concealed Carry For Law Enforcement Officers In The State

Law enforcement officers can conceal carry without location restrictions. Also, they are not affected by states, municipalities, and county laws.

But for a law enforcement officer to be able to conceal carry in Pennsylvania, he or she must meet all LEOSA qualifications.

The Law Enforcement Safety Act covers both active and retired officers of the United States, and this applies in all jurisdictions of the country.

In Pennsylvania, the police officers’ education and training commission are in charge of qualifying law enforcement officers according to the standards laid down by LEOSA.

Retired officers must first apply for the training in the local law enforcement agency from where they retired. A state-certified instructor must be in charge of such training.

The law enforcement agency will issue the retired officer with a qualification card, and the officer must deliver the card to a local sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office will conduct the background check, and add a confirmation order to the issued card.

Note that an issued card without a confirmation order is useless.

Only retired officers that complete this process will be allowed to conceal carry according to LEOSA.

Buying And Selling Of Firearms In Pennsylvania

Another thing you must pay attention to is dealing with firearms. This covers the sale, purchase, possession, transporting and transferring firearms in Pennsylvania.

Some of the requirements you need to know are:

Purchase Permits And Handgun Registration In Pennsylvania

To buy a firearm in Pennsylvania, you do not need a purchase permit, neither can you use a Pennsylvania concealed carry permit.

Also, Pennsylvania does not have a roster for firearms, and there are no handgun registration procedures.

Criminal Record Background Check In Pennsylvania

You must undergo a criminal record background check before buying firearms in the state.

Although this may not be readily accessible to private firearm dealers, they can still conduct the check through a licensed federal dealer.

The only situation where a background check is not needed is the transfer of firearms between members of a family such as parents, children, spouses, grandparents, and grandchildren.

Waiting Period For Buying Firearm In Pennsylvania

There is no required waiting period to complete the sales of a firearm in Pennsylvania.

As long as the criminal background record comes out clean, a dealer can complete the sale.

Minimum Age To Transport And Possess Firearms In Pennsylvania

You must be at least eighteen years old before you can handle a firearm in the state.

Possession Of Firearm In Personal Properties

You do not require a CCW permit to possess a gun in your home of residence or a building that you lease or rent.

Castle Doctrine In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania takes the castle doctrine law very seriously, and the state is referred to as a stand your ground state.

With this, you have a duty to defend yourself, your property, or an acquaintance in the face of an illegal activity that takes place in your home or any other place you have lawful rights to be.

The castle doctrine law justifies the use of deadly or excessive force for self-defense if the force is necessary to keep you alive and prevent bodily harm against an intruder.  However, you must not be the invoker of such a situation.

Away from your home, you have a duty to retreat when attacked because the castle doctrine law does not apply in this case.

Pennsylvania CCW Requirement

Pennsylvania has a list of requirements that you must meet before you apply for the license to carry.

These requirements are very important, and you must fulfill every one of them to their detail. Failure to do so means rejection of your CCW permit application.

The requirements include the following:  

  • You must be at least twenty-one years old.
  • You must reside in any county you are making the application, for a minimum of three months. If you are applying for a non-resident permit, you need to provide a license from your state of residence.
  • You must not have a reputation that suggests that you will behave in a manner that is dangerous to yourself, another person, or the general public.
  • You must not be a convict or commit any crime related to the use of drugs or dealing with controlled substances for ten years before your Pennsylvania concealed carry permit application.
  • You must meet all the qualifications required to possess a firearm according to laws of the state, and you must not be a convict for any crime that automatically disqualifies someone from applying for a CCW permit in Pennsylvania for ten years before application.
  • You must be mentally stable and not have any previous mental issues or admission to a mental home.
  • You must not be an illegal user of stimulants and depressants such as marijuana, cocaine, and other narcotics.
  • You must not be a seasoned drunkard.
  • You must not be a convict or charged with any crime that has more than a one-year jail term.
  • You must not be a fugitive or have an arrest warrant in your name.
  • You must not have been dishonorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces.
  • You must not have any court order that prohibits you from possession, transferring, buying, selling, manufacturing, or using firearms in the state.
  • You must meet all federal law requirements for the application of CCW permit in the USA.

How To Apply For CCW Permit In Pennsylvania

After meeting all Pennsylvania concealed carry permit requirements, you can then apply for the license.

The process for application includes the following:

Obtain Your Application Form

You can either download the application or visit your county sheriff’s office to pick it up.

Note that you must provide two references before you can apply, and these references may not be your family members

Submit The Necessary Documents

You must submit the following documents to proceed with the application:

  • Your driver’s license or state-issued ID card.
  • If you are applying for a non-resident permit, you must provide a CCW license from your state of residence.
  • References forms.
  • Take your photograph.
  • Pay the required fee.

Take the documents to either your local sheriff office or the police state department for resident and non-residents permit, respectively.

Get Your License To Carry

A background check will be done, and if it comes out quickly, you will most likely leave the county office with your CCW permit.

If not, the person in charge will direct you to go home, and you will receive an approval mail after within a stipulated period.

Note that you must provide a good cause for concealed carry before applying for CCW permit. The law enforcement agency will review your application and determine to accept or reject it.

If an applicant does not have a good cause to conceal carry the law enforcement has the discretion to reject such application.

Your reason to conceal carry can range from self-defense to employment, range shooting, hunting, or any other valid cause.

Firearm Training Requirement In Pennsylvania

Unlike in most states, you are not obliged to complete a Pennsylvania concealed carry permit course before you apply for the license to carry firearms.

But there is a recommendation for training by the United States Concealed Carry Application for everyone who chooses to handle concealed firearms.

Therefore, you might want to enroll for a Pennsylvania concealed carry permit online course.

Pennsylvania Concealed Carry FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about CCW in Pennsylvania.

How Long Will My Pennsylvania CCW Permit Last?

The permits last for five years, after which you have to apply for renewal.

How Much Is CCW Permit In Pennsylvania?

Both initial and renewal applications cost twenty dollars.

How Long Will It Take To Obtain My Pennsylvania CCW Permit?

The processing period for CCW permits in Pennsylvania is forty-five days.

How Soon Can I Apply For Renewal CCW Application In Pennsylvania?

You can apply for a renewal application sixty days before your CCW permit expires.

Note that you have the grace to renew up until sixty days after the permit expires.

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