Pennsylvania Firearm Laws
In this section of the website we have done our best to collect and organize information on all of the many laws that regulate firearm ownership. Our goal is to provide a resource where current law is explained in plain, easy to understand language with references to the appropriate statutes and court cases where applicable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to register my firearms in Pennsylvania?
No, in fact in Pennsylvania it is actually illegal for any government or police agency to keep a registry of firearms per 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111.4 (Registration of firearms). If you legally possess bring your firearms into the Pennsylvania or come into possession of the firearms legally, no further action is required.
It should be noted however that all transfers of handguns in Pennsylvania are required to go through the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) and as such the Pennsylvania State Police keep a "Sales Database" of all handguns purchased within the Commonwealth. While almost any casual observer can see that this database clearly violates the spirit of 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111.4 (Registration of firearms), in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed with the Pennsylvania State Police that because the database is not a complete record of all handgun ownership (as people bringing handguns into the state do not have to register them), it does not.
How old must one be to possess a firearm?
Per 18 Pa.C.S. § 6110.1 (Possession of firearm by minor), the minimum age to possess a firearm is 18 with two exceptions:
- The minor is under the supervision of a parent, grandparent, legal guardian, or an adult acting with the expressed consent of the minor's parent or legal guardian and involved in lawful activity.
- The minor is lawfully involved in hunting or trapping activities.
Do I need a License To Carry Firearms carry a concealed firearm in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania a License To Carry Firearms is required to conceal a firearm, or to carry a firearm in a motor vehicle.
For more information please see our Concealed Carry page which goes further into the issue.
What states honor Pennsylvania's License To Carry Firearms?
For an up-to-date list of the states that honor Pennsylvania's License To Carry Firearms and what states concealed carry permits we honor, please see our Pennsylvania concealed carry permit reciprocity page.
Is my License To Carry Firearms honored in Philadelphia?
Contrary to many rumors that have been floating around for years, a Pennsylvania License To Carry Firearms issued anywhere in the state is good anywhere in the state. Pennsylvania's Uniform Firearms Act provides a pre-emption statute which prevents anyone other than the state legislature from regulating the carry of firearms among other things. At one point in time Philadelphia had attempted to ignore this, but it has long been resolved.
Do I need a License To Carry Firearms to openly carry a firearm in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania a License To Carry Firearms is only required to conceal a firearm, or to carry a firearm in a motor vehicle. The law is silent on the act of openly carrying a firearm while not in a vehicle making it de-facto legal. It must be noted however that due to 18 Pa.C.S. § 6108 (Carrying firearms on public streets or public property in Philadelphia) a License To Carry Firearms is required to carry a firearm in any manner on the streets or public property of a "City of the first class" (Philadelphia.)
For more information please see our Open Carry page which goes further into the issue.
If I have a Pennsylvania License To Carry Firearms, can I work as an armed security guard?
No. If you wish to carry a firearm for the purpose of employment you must receive a license in compliance with Act 235, or the Lethal Weapons Training Act.