Page Last Modified: Mar 3, 2017 @ 8:54 pm

Disclaimer: It is our goal to keep the information on this page, and this website, as up to date as possible. With that said, it is ultimately your responsibility to verify the handgun law in your states of interest. The information on this page is for informational purposes only. The information presented on this page and on this website is not legal advice, and should not be treated as such. This content is subject to change without notice. We recommend subscribing to be notified when the content on this page and on this site changes.

Note: The processes listed below apply to the majority of people. If you are active-duty military, honorably discharged military, law enforcement, or retired law enforcement, the processes below may be slightly different (easier) when applying for a concealed carry permit.

 

Types of Concealed Carry Permits

1) Resident

  • Must be a minimum of 21 years old to apply
  • Must reside in Pennsylvania
  • Valid for 5 years
  • Costs $20

1) Non-Resident

  • Must be a minimum of 21 years old to apply
  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Must have a concealed carry permit from your state of residence
  • Valid for 5 years
  • Costs $20

Note: Any resident or non-resident that may legally possess a handgun and is at least 18 years old can open carry. No permit is required in this case. However, you may not carry a loaded firearm in a vehicle without a concealed carry permit. Additionally, you may not open carry in Philadelphia without a concealed carry permit.

Is it Required to Carry Concealed?

No – you may open carry or carry concealed with a concealed handgun license.

May Issue or Shall Issue?

Pennsylvania is a shall issue state, meaning the law states that they may issue a permit if you meet all requirements.

Process to Apply

Resident

To get an PA concealed carry permit as a PA resident, you are required to apply at the sheriff’s office in your county of residence.

  1. Contact your local sheriff’s office to see what items they require to complete an application for a concealed carry permit.
    • Find a list of Pennsylvania sheriffs here.
    • Note: Some counties require the addresses and phone numbers of 2 references that can attest to your good moral character.
    • Note: Some counties require a 90 day proof of residence.
  2. Go to your local sheriff’s office to complete the application process. Bring the following items:
    • Your PA state issued I.D. or driver’s license.
    • Another form of identification.
    • Application fee: $20.
    • Anything else specified by the sheriff’s office as discovered in step 1.
  3. The sheriff’s office will then take a complete set of fingerprints to be used to initiate your criminal background check.

After these steps are completed, the department processing the application is legally required to inform you in 45 days or less whether your application was denied or approved. A denial may be appealed.

Non-Resident

To get an PA concealed carry permit as a non-resident, you must have a current concealed carry permit from your state of residence. If you meet this requirement, you may apply to any sheriff’s office that will issue permits to non-residents. Some sheriffs don’t issue permits to people who don’t reside in their county.

  1. Contact a sheriff’s office to see if they’ll issue concealed carry permits to non-residents. If so, ask what items they require to complete the application as a non-resident.
    • Find a list of Pennsylvania sheriffs here.
    • Note: Some counties require the addresses and phone numbers of 2 references that can attest to your good moral character.
    • Note: Some counties require a 90 day proof of residence.
  2. Go to the sheriff’s office you’re applying to in order to complete the application process. Bring the following items:
    • Your concealed carry permit issued in your state of residence.
    • Your state issued I.D. or driver’s license.
    • Another form of identification.
    • Application fee: $20.
    • Anything else specified by the sheriff’s office as discovered in step 1.
  3. The sheriff’s office will then take a complete set of fingerprints to be used to initiate your criminal background check.

After these steps are completed, the department processing the application is legally required to inform you in 45 days or less whether your application was denied or approved. A denial may be appealed.

Reasons an Applicant Won’t Be Approved

If you meet any of the following conditions, your application is almost guaranteed to be denied:

  1. You are illegally in the United States.
  2. You’ve been convicted of a felony.
  3. You’ve been convicted of a violent crime, including domestic violence.
  4. You’ve been convicted of a crime punishable by a prison term greater than 1 year.
  5. You’ve been convicted of DUI 3 or more times within the last 5 years.
  6. You’ve been adjudicated delinquent for an act that, if committed by an adult would be a felony in the last 15 years.
  7. You’ve been adjudicated delinquent for an act that, if committed by an adult would be a misdemeanor in the last 15 years.
  8. You are subject to a restraining order or other similar court order.
  9. You are a drug addict, habitual drunkard, an unlawful user of any controlled substance, or are determined to be of unsound mind.
  10. You have a mental illness.
  11. You’ve received voluntary or involuntary treatment in a psychiatric hospital, mental institution, or similar treatment facility for any reason.
  12. You are a fugitive from justice.
  13. You’ve been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces.
  14. You are subject to a firearms seizure order.

Location Restrictions for Carrying

It is unlawful to carry a handgun, even if you have a concealed carry permit, in the following locations:

  • Federal buildings.
  • Courthouses or court facilities.
  • Federal prisons.
  • Jails, prisons, detention facilities, or other correctional facilities.
  • Mental hospitals.
  • Indian reservations.
  • Post offices.
  • Military bases.
  • On school grounds.
  • In Philadelphia City Parks.
  • Passed the security checkpoint at airports.
  • Anywhere you decide to consume alcohol. You cannot carry a firearm if you consume any alcohol.

Transporting a Handgun Through & Throughout PA

With a Concealed Carry Permit

If you have a PA or PA recognized concealed carry permit, you may transport a handgun in a vehicle while it is loaded and on your person.

Without a Concealed Carry Permit

If you do not possess a PA or PA recognized concealed carry permit, you must abide by the following when transporting a handgun in your vehicle into and throughout the state:

  • You must legally possess the firearm.
  • The firearm must be unloaded and secured.
  • The firearm and ammunition cannot be readily accessible or directly accessible from the passenger compartment.
  • If your vehicle doesn’t have a compartment separate from the driver’s compartment, the firearm and ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove
    compartment or console.

Additional Notes About PA Handgun Law

Does PA Law Incorporate Stand Your Ground?

Yes.

The Stand Your Ground law permits you to use force, and not retreat, when faced with a threat. Stand Your Ground protects your use of force, even deadly force, when used to protect yourself or others if you reasonably believe there is an imminent threat of serious harm or death. To be protected under Stand Your Ground, you must be in a place where you have the lawful right to be.

Does PA Law Incorporate the Castle Doctrine?

Yes.

The Castle Doctrine is similar to Stand Your Ground. The Castle Doctrine permits you to use force (even deadly force), and not retreat, when you’re in your own home. This again assumes you reasonably believe there is an imminent threat of serious harm or death on yourself or others in your home.

This ‘castle’ is sometimes broadened to cover you when you’re in your yard, car, etc. Each state’s Castle Doctrine law is written differently – consult your state’s law to confirm if your state extends the meaning of a ‘castle’ to cover more than just your home.

Reciprocity – What State Permits Does PA Recognize?

PA recognizes the following states’ concealed carry permits:

Concealed Carry Permits PA Recognizes

Read more about Pennsylvania reciprocity agreements here.

Reciprocity – Where is the PA Permit Recognized?

The PA concealed carry permit is recognized in the following states:

PA Concealed Carry Permit Reciprocity

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