Pennsylvania Gun Permit: State Laws, Rules, Requirements & Online Training

Pennsylvania issues a license to carry a pistol or the possession of firearms in the state.

To apply, you must meet all requirements provided by the gun laws of the state.  

Pennsylvania Gun Permit Summary.

Pennsylvania has a shall-issue policy for the possession of firearms issued at the level of a county sheriff office or the police chief of a city for first-class citizens.

The state does not issue purchase permits to buy firearms. But every buyer must complete a criminal record check.

How To Get A Gun Permit In Pennsylvania.

To apply for a Pennsylvania gun permit, you must be at least twenty-one years old, and must not have a prohibition against the possession or use of firearms.

Pennsylvania issues permit only for concealed carry. It is a permissive open carry state.

Pennsylvania Gun Permit Laws.

If you are at least eighteen years old or more, with legal rights to possess firearms, you can open carry in Pennsylvania without a gun license.

However, you cannot open carry in every location because some places are off-limits for the possession of firearms, such as schools, government buildings, restricted properties, etc.

The state prohibits the possession of firearms defined as offensive weapons such as machine guns, except the person carrying it is a licensed individual.

Also, ammunition with Teflon coatings or those that can pierce armor is unlawful in the state except for military members or law enforcement officers.

Pennsylvania Pistol Permit Requirement.

All the requirements provided by Pennsylvania pistol permit laws that have to do with the application of pistol permit in the state includes the following:

  • You must be at least twenty-one years old.
  • You must reside in the county where you are applying 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 dangerous manner 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 the permit application.
  • You must meet all the qualifications required to possess a firearm according to the laws of the state. You must not be a convict for any crime that automatically disqualifies someone from applying for a 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 the possession, transferring, buying, selling, manufacturing, or using firearms in the state.
  • You must meet all federal law requirements for the application of gun permits.

Different Types Of Gun Permits In Pennsylvania.

A summary of firearms permits issued in Pennsylvania includes the following:

  • State permit to purchase long guns: Pennsylvania does not issue a state permit to buy long guns.
  • State permits to purchase handguns: Pennsylvania does not issue a state permit to purchase guns.
  • State permit to open carry: Pennsylvania is a permissive state, so no license required to open carry.
  • State permits to conceal carry long guns: Pennsylvania does not issue a state permit to conceal handguns.
  • State permits to conceal carry handguns: Pennsylvania issues a pistol permit to conceal carry guns in the state.

How Much Does It Cost To Get A Gun License In Pennsylvania?

The cost for both initial and renewal permit applications in Pennsylvania is twenty dollars.

Gun Permits Application And Renewal Law In Pennsylvania?

The processes to apply for pistol permits in Pennsylvania include 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 your local sheriff office or the police state department for resident and non-residents permit, respectively.

Get Your License.

A background check will be done, and depending on how fast it is, you will get your permit the same day.

If not, you will have to go home, and you will receive an approval mail after a stipulated period.

Note that you must provide a good cause for concealed carry before applying for a Pennsylvania gun permit.

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.

For the Pennsylvania renewal permit process, you can begin the application at least two months before the expiry date.

If you do not renew your permit within this period, you may forfeit it, thereby making it invalid. This means that you have to apply for another one.

For renewal permits, the options to choose from are:

  • Hard plastic permits: This looks just like a driver’s license, and it costs forty-six dollars. You do not need a photo for this type of license.
  • Laminated paper permit: This will carry your photo, and it costs twenty-five dollars. To apply for this permit, you must provide two passports photographs.

Gun Permit Reciprocity With Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania has reciprocity for a gun license with some states in the country. Hence it will accept pistol permits from these states.

Other aspects of its reciprocity include:

States That Pennsylvania Will Accept Their Pistol License.

If you are a resident of these states, you can possess firearms within Pennsylvania’s territory, but according to Pennsylvania gun laws. These states are:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona 
  • Arkansas 
  • Colorado 
  • Florida 
  • Georgia 
  • Idaho 
  • Indiana 
  • Iowa 
  • Kansas 
  • Kentucky 
  • Louisiana 
  • Michigan 
  • Mississippi 
  • Missouri 
  • Montana 
  • New Hampshire 
  • North Carolina 
  • North Dakota 
  • Ohio 
  • Oklahoma 
  • South Dakota 
  • Tennessee 
  • Texas 
  • Utah 
  • West Virginia 
  • Wisconsin 
  • Wyoming

States That Recognize Pennsylvania Pistol Permit.

These states will accept your Pennsylvania gun license, but you can only handle firearms according to the laws provided by the gun statutes of the states: They include the following:

  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Montana
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
  • Puerto Rico

States That Have Restricted Reciprocity With Pennsylvania.

These states will honor a gun license from Pennsylvania, but you must still meet other individual requirements before carrying firearms. The states under this category are:

  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Michigan

States That Have Permitless Carry Policy.

Most of the states here are constitutional carry states that do not require pistol permits to open or conceal firearms within their territories. However, some of them may have other requirements you must satisfy before you can possess a firearm without a permit. They include the following:

  • Arizona 
  • Alaska 
  • Arkansas
  • Idaho 
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine 
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire 
  • Oklahoma 
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont 
  • West Virginia 

FAQs About Gun Permits In Pennsylvania.

Some of the most frequently asked questions about pistol permit application and other information in Pennsylvania include the following:

Do I Need A Permit To Conceal Carry Firearms In Pennsylvania?

Yes, you can only conceal carry in Pennsylvania if you have a gun license issued by the state.

For How Long Is Pennsylvania Gun Permit Valid?

The permit is valid for five years, after which you have to apply for another one.

Can Non-Residents Apply For Pennsylvania Firearm Permits?

Yes, Non-residents who have gun permits from their state can apply for a non-residents pistol license in Pennsylvania.

How Can I Change The Name And Address On My Pennsylvania License To Carry?

To change name or address on your Pennsylvania gun license, visit your local county sheriff with either a driver’s license or any other identification card that carries your new name or address. The fee is five dollars.

What Can I Do If I Lost My Pennsylvania Gun Permit Or It Gets Stolen?

Visit your local sheriff's office with either a driver’s license or a state identification card and a duplicate permit fee of five dollars.

How Soon Can I Apply For Pennsylvania Gun Permit After Moving To The State?

You must live in Pennsylvania for at least ninety days before applying for a gun license in your local county.

Can I Make Use Of Pennsylvania Pistol Permit After Moving To Another State In The Country?

No, your Pennsylvania pistol permit expires as soon as you establish residency in another state.

Do I Need A Pennsylvania Gun Permit To Open Carry In The State?

No, you do not need a permit to open carry in Pennsylvania.

As long as you are eighteen years old and have legal rights to possess firearms, you can open carry in Pennsylvania.

What Is The Minimum Age Requirement To Apply For Pennsylvania Pistol Permit?

You must be at least twenty-one years old before you apply for a gun license in Pennsylvania.

Do I need A Permit To Purchase Firearms In Alabama?

No, Pennsylvania does not issue purchase permits to buy firearms in the state.

Does My Firearm Permit Exempt Me From Completing A Criminal Record Background Check Before Buying Firearms In Pennsylvania?

No, before buying firearms in Pennsylvania, you must complete a criminal record check regardless of if you are a licensee or not.

Do I Need A Pennsylvania Pistol Permit To Possess Firearms In My Private Property?

No, there are no requirements to be a permit holder before possessing firearms in the state’s private properties.

Do I Need To Complete A Firearm Training Before Applying For Pennsylvania Gun Permit?

No, there are no requirements to complete firearm training before applying for a pistol permit in Pennsylvania.

What Is The Processing Period For Firearm Permits In Pennsylvania?

The processing period for a gun license in Pennsylvania is forty-five days.

Is Pennsylvania A Preemption Gun Law State?

Yes, the state has all authority to control firearms in all political subdivisions, but local municipalities can regulate the discharge of firearms.

What Is The Age Requirement To Possess Firearms In Pennsylvania?

You must be at least eighteen years old to possess firearms in Pennsylvania.

Relevant Gun Laws Permits And Legislature In Pennsylvania.

Some of the Pennsylvania pistol permit laws relating to the possession of firearms in the state include the following:

Possession Of Firearms In Private Cars.

If you have a Pennsylvania gun permit or anyone from a state that it reciprocates, you can carry firearms in your private vehicle.

However, you can still carry firearms in private vehicles if you do not have a permit, just that the gun must be unloaded and kept away from the bullets in a different compartment.

The only exception to this law are members of the military actively on duty and law enforcement officers.

 [18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 6106]

Possession Of Firearms In Roadside Areas.

You can possess firearms in roadside areas of the state as long as you have a gun license from Pennsylvania or a pistol permit from any state that it recognizes.

Possession Of Firearms In State Parks, Forests, And Wildlife Management Areas.

According to the gun law, [34 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2525 & 58 PA Cons. Stat. § 135.41], you can carry firearms in these places as long as you are a Pennsylvania pistol permit holder, or you have a license from any state it reciprocates.

Possession Of Firearms In Restaurant And Bar Areas.

There are no Pennsylvania gun statutes that prohibit the possession of firearms in restaurant and bar ventures, except there is a post restricting such, or the management verbally informs you about the prohibition.

Possession Of Firearms In Hotels.

There are no gun laws in Pennsylvania that restrict or prohibits the possession of firearms in Hotels or similar establishments in the state.

However, Pennsylvania allows private properties and business owners to regulate or prohibit the possession of firearms on their premises.

This means that hotel management can develop gun policies for the possession of firearms on their properties, regardless of whether a visitor is a licensee.

For more information about this, you have to visit the hotel website. 

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