Making use of firearms is legal in Pennsylvania, just like most of America’s states.

However, there are gun statutes that regulate the possession, use, and types of firearms in the state.

You must get acquitted with these laws before you choose to open carry in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Gun Laws Summary

You can possess firearms in Pennsylvania with the state-issued license to carry.

Local county sheriff’s offices are in charge of application for this license. First-class residents can apply to the police department in a city.

Pennsylvania is a shall-issue state, and you will get your permit if you meet all requirements.

The state does not issue a purchase permit to use firearms, but you must complete a background check except during the transfer of firearms between family members.

To apply for a Pennsylvania license to carry firearms, you must be at least twenty-one years old.

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Is It Legal To Open Carry In Pennsylvania?

Yes. Open carry Pennsylvania is legal for anybody at least eighteen years old, who is not previously a delinquent or a felon.

Open Carry Gun Laws In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is a permissive open carry state, and unlike licensed states, you do not need a permit to conceal carry.

However, if you are making use of firearms categorized as offensive by the law statues, then you must have a license and handle them following federal regulations.

The only exception to this is law enforcement officers and military members in the state. 

Pennsylvania Open Gun Laws Quick View

Law/PolicyLong GunsHandgunsComments
State permit for open carry.NoNoPennsylvania gun law statutes do not require you to own a license before you open carry in the state.
Firearm registrations for open carry.NoNoYou have no state requirement to register any firearm specifically for open carry in Pennsylvania.
Assault weapon for open carry.NoNoThe state bans offensive weapons and firearms. However, if you have an NFA license to open carry in the state, you can carry in compliance with federal laws.
Magazine limitNoNoPennsylvania does not have any magazine limit for firearms in the state. Large capacity firearms are not prohibited.
License for the owner of a firearm.Not requiredNot requiredThere are no requirements to own a license for firearms in Pennsylvania.
Red flag lawNoNoPennsylvania does not have any red flag law or the issuance of an extreme risk protection order.
Castle doctrine lawYesYesPennsylvania is a castle doctrine state with a stand your ground and no duty to retreat policy in places where you have legal rights to be.
Background check for private dealersYesYesPrivate dealers of firearms in Pennsylvania must complete sales via state or federally licensed dealers or the office of a sheriff in a local county.
PreemptionYesYesPennsylvania has preemption gun laws in the state and case of local municipalities challenging this in court has led to ruling against such local areas
Concealed carry permit.YesYesPennsylvania license to carry is the only legal permit for concealed carry in the state.
Concealed carry in personal vehicleYesYesIf you have a Pennsylvania license to carry, you can conceal firearms in your vehicle.
Open carry in SchoolsNoNoOpen carry is not allowed in schools, colleges, universities, and technical institutions in the state.

Where Is It Legal To Open Carry In Pennsylvania?

Open carry of firearms in Pennsylvania is legal in the following parts of the state:

  • Restaurants and bars: You can open carry and possess a firearm in restaurant areas, except there is a post prohibiting the possession of weapons.
  • Roadside areas: You can open carry in Pennsylvania roadside areas as long as the local county permits it.
  • State forests and parks: You can open carry in parks and forests in the state as well as wildlife management areas.
  • Places of worship: You can open carry in places of worship, except the management does not permit this.

Where Is It Illegal To Open Carry In Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania gun laws prohibit the possession of firearms in the following places:

  • Schools: You cannot open carry in school premises, including colleges and universities. Also, possession of firearms is not allowed in school buses or any school facility.
  • Courthouses: Pennsylvania courthouses are off-limit for the possession of firearms in the state.
  • Prisons: you cannot possess firearms or conceal carry in prisons, jails, and detention facilities in the state.
  • Hospitals: You cannot open carry or possess firearms in Pennsylvania state hospitals or any other psychiatric home.
  • Public places: You cannot open carry in public areas of the state as well as facilities used by departments and law enforcement agencies.
  • Secure areas of airports: You cannot open carry or possess firearms in safety zones of airport areas in the state.
  • Prohibited places: You cannot open carry in prohibited areas of the state restricted by federal laws.

FAQs About Open Carry Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania open carry most frequently asked question includes the following:

Is It Compulsory That I Get A Permit Before Open Carry In Pennsylvania?

No. You do not need a permit to open carry in any part of Pennsylvania.

Do I Need A Permit To Conceal Carry In Pennsylvania?

Yes. You cannot conceal carry a firearm in Pennsylvania without the state license to conceal carry.

What Is Pennsylvania Age Requirement For Open Carry?

To open carry in Pennsylvania, you must be at least twenty-one years old.

What Is Pennsylvania Age Requirement For Concealed Carry?

You must be at least twenty-one years old to conceal carry in Pennsylvania.

What Is The Age Requirement To Apply For Pennsylvania License To Carry Firearms?

You must be at least twenty-one years old to apply for a Pennsylvania firearm license.

Is Pennsylvania A Red Flag Law State?

No. The state does not have any statute concerning red flag law or the issuance of an extreme risk protection order.

Can A Non-resident Apply For Pennsylvania’s Carry License?

Yes, the license is valid for both residents and non-residents of the state, as long as they have a similar permit to carry firearms from their state.

Non-residents’ application for the license is the same as that of residents of the state.

Does Pennsylvania Allow Constitutional Carry In The State?

No, Pennsylvania is not a constitutional carry state.

Can I Open Carry Knives In Pennsylvania?

Yes, you can open and concealed carry knives in Pennsylvania except for knives that fall into the list of illegal firearms in the state.

This includes daggers, automatic knives that can cause severe bodily harm and are of no use for any legal reason.

The state also prohibits the possession of knives in areas such as schools, courthouses, or public places.

Some municipalities may also have restrictions on the use of knives in the state. An example is Philadelphia.

Does Pennsylvania Have Restrictions For Firearms In The State?

Pennsylvania gun laws prohibit the possession of offensive firearms in the state, except the owner has a federal license to use such.

Examples of these firearms include the following:

  • Machine guns
  • Short-barreled guns.
  • Antique firearms
  • Shotguns
  • Short barreled firearms and
  • Compressors.

Must I Have A Permit To Purchase Before Buying Firearms In Pennsylvania?

No. Pennsylvania does not issue any type of permit for the purchase of firearms in the state.

Is Criminal Record Background Check Compulsory For Firearm Purchase In Pennsylvania?

Yes, the state gun law makes it compulsory for everybody purchasing a firearm to complete the criminal record background check.

Private dealers in the state must complete the check through a licensed dealer or the office of a local county sheriff.

Note that your Pennsylvania License to carry a firearm does not exempt you from completing the criminal record background check.

What Is The Age Requirement To Buy Firearms In Pennsylvania?

You must be at least eighteen years old before you purchase a firearm in Pennsylvania.

When Will Pennsylvania License To Carry Firearm Expire?

The license will expire five years after its issuance. You must renew to continue using it.

When Can I Renew My Pennsylvania License To Carry?

You can apply for a renewal license sixty days before it expires.

Do I Have A Duty To Inform Law Enforcement Officers About My Possession Of Firearms In Pennsylvania?

No. The state gun statute does not require you to notify any law enforcement officer you encounter about your possession of a firearm.

Is Pennsylvania A Castle Doctrine State?

Yes. The state allows you to stand your ground in any place where you have legal rights to be, with no duty to retreat policy.

Does Pennsylvania Allow The Use Of Deadly Force In The State?

Yes, you can make use of deadly force while exercising your self-defense right if, in your opinion, an attack can lead to a severe injury or an imminent death.

Do I Need To Complete A Firearm Training Course Before Applying For The License To Carry?

No. Pennsylvania gun laws do not require anybody to complete firearm training before applying for the license.

Is Registration Of Firearms A Requirement For Pennsylvania License To Carry Firearms?

No. The state does not require that you register your firearm after purchasing it.

Do I Need A License To Use Firearms On My Personal Property?

No. You do not need a permit to use a firearm on a property you own, either by leasing or renting your workplace or in any other building, with the owner’s permission.

Relevant Open Carry Laws And Legislature In Pennsylvania

Laws that concern open carry in Pennsylvania and other related use of firearm possession includes the following:

Ammunition Restrictions

Pennsylvania prohibits the use of ammunition like Teflon-coated and armor-piercing bullets used to commit unlawful crimes in the state.

Preemption Laws

Pennsylvania has preemption gun laws, with the government owning all authority to restrict or regulate the use of firearms in the state.

However, local governments have the power to regulate the use and discharge of firearms within their jurisdiction.

Pennsylvania gun law supersedes any local law in the state, as seen in the case of the city of Pittsburgh against the state.

The court ruled in favor of the state because the attempt to enact local gun laws violates the Pennsylvania preemption statute.

Brandishing Of Firearms In The State

The state charges a person with improper conduct if he or she publicly uses a firearm in rage, recklessly, or to threaten another person.

The only exception to this is during the legal use of firearms by law enforcement officers or while someone is defending himself or herself, a third party, or properties.

Red Flag Law

Pennsylvania does not have any red flag policy against the issuance of an extreme risk protection order in the state.

The city of Pittsburgh also lost this case against the state due to preemption laws in Pennsylvania.

Open Carry While Hunting In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania permits the open carry of a firearm while hunting in the state. However, during bow hunting, you cannot make use of firearms to shoot an animal.

Pennsylvania also has hunter harassment laws in the state to protect the activity.

It is illegal for a person to interfere with hunting in a location licensed for such an activity. You can violate this law in the following ways:

  • Interfere with a legal hunting activity in the state by disturbing wildlife or game animals.
  • Intercepts or harasses a hunter taking part in a licensed hunting or any related activity in the state.
  • Uses any form of stimuli to disturb wildlife such that it makes hunting activities more difficult, or completely prevents the practice.
  • Builds a barrier to prevent access into areas of the state, licensed for the lawful taking of animals.
  • Puts him or herself in the line of live-fire while hunting in the state.
  • Affects the condition of a property used for licensed hunting activity such that it becomes more challenging to hunt games successfully.
  • Trespass on a public or privately owned property without the permission of the owner or the right authority, before hunting.
  • Disregards orders given by a peace officer enforcing any of these laws in a licensed hunting property.

Additional Resources

Pennsylvania Gun Laws
Pennsylvania Concealed Carry Laws
Pennsylvania Gun Permit Laws

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