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Pennsylvania Gun Control Laws

Every state has its own unique set of gun control regulations, which vary widely from state to state. Some states lack waiting periods and allow residents to openly carry handguns in public, while others have much stricter controls. Pennsylvania has somewhat tougher gun laws in relation to the rest of the country.

The main provisions of Pennsylvania gun control laws are listed in the table below. See Gun Laws for a general overview on the topic.

Relevant Statutes (Laws)

Title 18 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, Chapter 61, Sections 6101 through 6142
  • Persons not to possess, use, manufacture, control, sell or transfer firearms - Section 6105
  • Firearms not to be carried without a license - Section 6106
  • Carrying loaded weapons other than firearms - Section 6106.1
  • Carrying firearms on public streets or public property in Philadelphia - Section 6108
  • Licenses - Section 6109
  • Sale or transfer of firearms - Section 6111
Title 18 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, Chapter 9, Sections 908 through 913

Illegal Arms

It is illegal to possess the following items in Pennsylvania:
  • Machine guns
  • Sawed-off shotguns
  • Firearms specially adapted for concealment or silent discharge

Waiting Period

There is no waiting period to purchase a gun in Pennsylvania.

Who May Not Own

A person may not possess a firearm in Pennsylvania if they:
  • Have been convicted of certain criminal offenses or adjudicated delinquent for acts that would be certain criminal offenses if committed by an adult
  • Are a fugitive from justice
  • Have been adjudicated as an incompetent or who has been involuntarily committed to a mental institution for inpatient care and treatment
  • Are illegally or unlawfully present in the United States
  • Are the subject of an active final protection from abuse order

License Required?

Pennsylvania does not require a person to have a license to own a firearm.

Concealed Carry License Required?

Carrying a concealed firearm is illegal unless a person has a license to carry a firearm.

Open Carried Allowed?

Open carry without a license is allowed in Pennsylvania, except in the city of Philadelphia. Philadelphia requires a license to carry a firearm for a person to open carry.

Eligibility for a Concealed Carry License

To be eligible for a license to carry a firearm, a person must:
  • Be 21 years of age or older
  • Be of sound mind and have never been committed to a mental institution
  • Not be an individual whose character and reputation is such that the individual would be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety
  • Not have been convicted of, or adjudicated delinquent for, an offense under the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act
  • Not have been convicted of, or adjudicated delinquent for, a crime for possessing a firearm
  • Not be addicted to or an unlawful user of marijuana or a stimulant, depressant, or narcotic drug
  • Not be a habitual drunkard
  • Not be charged with or have been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year
  • Not be resident of another state who does not possess a current license or permit or similar document to carry a firearm issued by that state
  • Not be illegally present in the United States
  • Not have been discharged from the armed forces of the United States under dishonorable conditions
  • Not be a fugitive from justice
  • Not be prohibited from possessing, using, manufacturing, controlling, purchasing, selling, or transferring a firearm

Machine Gun Laws

Machine guns are prohibited under Pennsylvania law.

Penalties for Illegal Firearm Possession

Pennsylvania has detailed gun laws with varied penalties for violations. Depending on the offense, a gun law violation could be a misdemeanor or a felony. Common penalties for gun possession offenses are:
  • Misdemeanor of the third degree: punishable by up to 1 year imprisonment and up to a $2,500 fine
  • Misdemeanor of the second degree: punishable by up to 2 years imprisonment and up to a $5,000 fine
  • Misdemeanor of the first degree: punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and up to a $10,000 fine
  • Felony of the second degree: punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and up to a $25,000 fine
  • Felony of the first degree: punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment and up to a $25,000 fine

Penalties for Illegal Possession on or Near School Grounds

Possessing a gun on school grounds is a misdemeanor of the first degree punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and up to a $10,000 fine.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

Pennsylvania Gun Control Laws: Related Resources

Arrested for Violating Pennsylvania Gun Control Laws? Get Legal Help

If you or someone you love has been charged with a gun-related crime in Pennsylvania, it's a good idea to get in touch with a local criminal defense attorney to discuss your case and get personalized legal advice.

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