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Pennsylvania Gun Control Laws

Every state has its own unique set of gun control regulations, which vary widely from state to state. Some states lack waiting periods and allow residents to openly carry handguns in public, while others have much stricter controls. Pennsylvania has somewhat tougher gun laws in relation to the rest of the country, ranked by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence as the 10th strictest in the country.

Under Pennsylvania gun control laws, a person can "open carry" a gun, such as wearing it in a holster, without a license (except in Philadelphia). But in order to carry a concealed weapon in Pennsylvania, you must first obtain an LTCF ("License to Carry Firearms") permit through the county office where you reside. You must be 21 in order to apply for an LTCF license.

Felony convictions do not necessarily disqualify residents of the Keystone State from owning guns (while some misdemeanors do). You cannot purchase a firearm in Pennsylvania if you:

  • Have been convicted of a violent crime (felony or misdemeanor);
  • Are an undocumented immigrant;
  • Are declared mentally ill by the court;
  • Are under 18 years old;
  • Are a drug addict or habitual drunkard;
  • Are a fugitive from justice;
  • Have been convicted of three separate DUI charges within a five-year period; or
  • Are subject to an active protection from abuse order.

The main provisions of Pennsylvania gun control laws are listed in the table below. See Gun Laws for a general overview on the topic.

Code Section Tit. 18 §§908, 6105, 6110.1, 6111
Illegal Arms Machine gun; sawed-off shotgun; firearm specially made or adopted for concealment or silent discharge; altered manufacturer's number
Waiting Period 48 hrs.
Who May Not Own 1. Convicted of felony, crime of violence; 2. No delivery to persons under 18 yrs.; 3. If you have reason to believe convicted of crime of violence; drug addict; habitual drunkard; unsound mind 4. Fugitive from justice 5. Incompetent 6. Illegal Alien; 7. Convicted of DUI on 3 separate occasions within a 5-year period; 8. Subject of an active protection from abuse order.
Law Prohibiting Firearms On or Near School Grounds Misdemeanor. 912

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Pennsylvania attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Pennsylvania Gun Control Laws: Related Resources

Arrested for Violating Pennsylvania Gun Control Laws? Get Legal Help

Gun laws have always been a hot topic in U.S. legal history. While gun laws are intended to provide some measure of safety, they often bump up against the Second Amendment. If you or someone you love has been charged with a gun-related crime in Pennsylvania, it's a good idea to get in touch with a local criminal defense attorney to discuss your case and get personalized legal advice.

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