Pennsylvania Gun License Laws
If you are 21 or older and want to carry a gun in Pennsylvania on your person or in your vehicle, you need to have a valid license to do so.
The exceptions are:
- You can lawfully carry a concealed firearm in your home
- You can lawfully carry a firearm in your fixed place of business
Those who want to obtain a concealed carry license in Allegheny County have to apply to the county sheriff’s office. Your application will be run through a national background check and the sheriff will also confirm there are no charges pending against you locally.
If you are charged with carrying a firearm when you do not have a license, you face harsh penalties including years in prison, expensive fines, and a permanent criminal record. Having an experienced weapons lawyer on your side can help you avoid the worst penalties you face.
Penalties for Carrying a Firearm Without a License in PA
Under the Pennsylvania Criminal Code, Title 18, Chapter 61, you may be charged with carrying a concealed firearm on your person or in your vehicle without a license as a first degree misdemeanor if you are eligible to have a license and you have not committed any criminal offenses. This excludes your home and a fixed business location, so you are lawfully allowed to carry a concealed firearm at home or at work (if it is permitted). In Pennsylvania, a first-degree misdemeanor comes with five years in prison, up to $10,000 in fines, or both if convicted.
If you are ineligible to obtain a license, you may be charged with a third-degree felony. You can be sentenced to up to seven years in prison, required to pay $15,000 in fines, or both.
Exceptions to Pennsylvania Concealed Carry Laws
Exceptions to the conceal and carry violation include:
- Members of law enforcement (local, state, and federal)
- Members of the U.S. military, including reserves
- Enrolled members of a U.S. or Pennsylvania organization to purchase or receive firearms
- Anyone who is at target practice or going to or from target practice, provided that the firearm isn’t loaded
- Bank or security firm employees who are required to protect money or valuables, such as a Brinks or Dunbar employee who drive armored trucks
- Anyone involved in manufacturing, repairing or dealing in firearms who would usually carry a firearm in the course of conducting business
- Anyone carrying an unloaded firearm that is securely wrapped after purchasing, repairs, sale, appraisal
- Anyone moving from one home to another or one office to another
- Anyone recovering stolen property
- Anyone involved in teaching others how to handle a firearm safely
- Anyone instructed to relinquish firearms back to a location
- Anyone licensed to hunt provided they actually are hunting or headed to hunt
- Anyone training a dog during a regular training season
- Anyone carrying a firearm in a vehicle with a valid license for that weapon under another state’s law or federal law, regardless of whether there is state reciprocity
- Anyone whose Pennsylvania license to carry has expired within six months prior to the arrest date and the person is eligible for renewal
- Anyone who is eligible to possess a firearm and is operating a motor vehicle registered in his or her name, or a spouse or parent’s name and the firearm has been legally licensed to a spouse or parent
- Anyone who is legally allowed to transport firearms between states
Charged with Carrying a Gun Without a License? Our Defense Attorneys Can Help
Your first step should be to consult with an experienced Pittsburgh criminal lawyer who can review the evidence against you and begin preparing your defense. At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, we have handled many conceal and carry violations and would be happy to put our experience to work for you. Since your future and liberty are at stake, we will fight your charges to achieve the best possible outcome for your situation. We’ll also be by your side to walk you through the legal process.
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