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Concealed Carry Requirements and Information in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania, like almost every other state, allows citizens to apply for concealed carry permits, enabling them to carry concealed firearms on their person or in their vehicles.

In the Keystone State, anyone who is 21 years of age or older may submit an Application for a Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms to their county sheriff or the chief of police in the city in which they reside. The application is also available for those who are 21 and not Pennsylvania residents, so long as they already possess a permit to carry a concealed firearm in another state.

Once the application has been submitted, the sheriff’s office has 45 days to conduct a cohesive background check to determine the applicant’s eligibility to be issued a license. A sheriff may deny a person the right to carry a concealed firearm if there is any reason to believe that person’s reputation or character is such that he or she would likely act in a dangerous manner. A criminal record, for example, will almost certainly lead to an application denial.

If the check is approved and the subject is deemed to be of good character, the sheriff may then issue a License to Carry Firearms. The license is valid for five years, unless revoked sooner. Note that this license does not constitute a license to purchase firearms.

Exceptions to carrying without a license

There are some circumstances in which a person may carry a weapon without a Pennsylvania License to Carry. Examples include the following:

  • Any law enforcement officers, such as police officers, sheriffs, jail wardens and deputies
  • Members of the armed forces while on duty
  • People engaged in target shooting with a rifle, pistol or revolver, if those people are going to or from their places of target practice or assembly and the firearm is not loaded
  • People engaged in manufacturing, dealing or repairing firearms
  • Any person carrying an unloaded firearm in a secure wrapper from the place of purchase to that person’s home or business or to a place of repair, sale or appraisal
  • Any person licensed to hunt, if that person is engaged in hunting activities

There are additional exceptions, but these are a few of the most common examples.

To learn more about the rights you have as a gun owner and how to defend yourself if charged with a weapons crime, contact experienced criminal defense lawyer David R. Eshelman.


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