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FAQs About Pennsylvania’s Gun Laws

December 14, 2021

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

Recently, a man was arrested after police searched his home and found thousands of dollars in cash, different drugs, and several types of firearms. The man is now facing several felony charges, including illegal possession of a firearm. The man’s arrest came after many weeks of investigation, and the story is not unique in Pennsylvania. Gun laws are very strict in the Commonwealth, and authorities take weapons offenses very seriously. As such, our Philadelphia criminal defense attorney has drafted a list of some of the most frequently asked questions about the gun laws in the state, and has provided the answers to them.

Does Pennsylvania have a Minimum Age for Owning a Firearm?

The majority of people in the state must be at least 18 years of age in order to possess a firearm. The only exception to this is when a minor child is under the supervision of a parent, grandparent, legal guardian, or another adult that has the express consent of the child’s parent. In these instances, minor children can use a firearm for the purposes of legal hunting and trapping.

Do You Have to Register Your Firearm in Pennsylvania?

If you have purchased your firearm legally, or brought it into the state from another state, no further action from you is needed. While all firearm transactions are subject to the Pennsylvania Instant Check System, law enforcement agencies in the state are actually prohibited by law from keeping a firearm registry.

Do I Need a Permit to Carry My Firearm?

If you wish to carry a concealed firearm, either on your person or in your vehicle, you must first obtain a permit that allows you to do so. Throughout the majority of the state, you are not required to obtain a permit to openly carry a firearm, such as in a hip or shoulder holster. However, this is not the case in Philadelphia. Under Philadelphia local law, you must obtain a permit to carry your firearm on your person or your vehicle, regardless of whether you carry openly or concealed.

Will Other States Honor a License to Carry in Pennsylvania?

It is not uncommon for people in Pennsylvania to want to travel to other states, and bring their firearms with them. Before leaving, it is crucial to check to ensure your license will be honored in another state, as the list of states that honor Pennsylvania’s firearm laws changes regularly. Currently, there are approximately 30 states that will honor firearm licenses and permits obtained in the Commonwealth.

Our Criminal Defense Lawyer in Philadelphia Can Answer Your Questions

The Second Amendment provides all Americans with the right to bear arms, but those rights are not limitless. If you have more questions about the firearm law in Pennsylvania, or you are facing charges, our Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim can help ensure you are in accordance with the law, and will help you beat whatever charges you are facing. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.


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