Who can apply for a Pennsylvania License to Carry?
A person who is 21 years of age or older may apply for a license to carry. Submit a completed application for a Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms to the sheriff of the county you live in. If you live in a city of the first class (Philadelphia), submit the application to the chief of police of that city. Remember the required fee.
Persons who are 21 years of age or older and are NOT Pennsylvania residents may apply for a license. Submit a completed application for a Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms to any Pennsylvania county sheriff's office along with the required fee. A Pennsylvania license cannot be issued to a resident of another state who does not have a current license, permit, or similar document to carry a firearm issued by their home state.
The sheriff has 45 days to conduct an investigation to determine a person’s eligibility for a license. During the investigation, a background check is completed by the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) to determine if the person is prohibited by law. In accordance with 18 PA C.S. §6109, a sheriff may deny a person the right to a License to Carry Firearms if there is reason to believe that the character and reputation of the person is such that they would act in a manner to endanger public safety.
If the PICS check is approved, the sheriff issues a License to Carry Firearms. The license allows individuals to carry a firearm concealed on their person, or in a vehicle throughout this Commonwealth. The license is valid for a period of five (5) years unless revoked.
NOTE: A license to carry is NOT a license to purchase. Persons who buy a firearm from a licensed dealer are still required to have a background check completed.
A person who is otherwise eligible to possess a valid license under this chapter but carries a firearm in any vehicle or any person who carries a firearm concealed on or about his person, except in his place of abode or fixed place of business, without a valid and lawfully issued license and has not committed any other criminal violation commits a misdemeanor of the first degree.
Exceptions are found in PA Consolidated Statutes Title 18.
Who can apply for a Sportsman's Firearm Permit?
A person who is 18 years of age or older and is licensed to hunt, trap or fish, or who has been issued a permit relating to hunting dogs, may apply for a Sportsman's Firearm Permit by submitting a completed application along with the required fee to the county treasurer's office.
The permit is valid throughout this Commonwealth for a
period of five (5) years from the date of issue for any legal firearm, when
carried in conjunction with a valid hunting, furtaking or fishing license, or
permit relating to hunting dogs. A Sportsman's Firearm Permit is NOT a License
to Carry a firearm concealed. More information is located in the PA Consolidated Statutes Title 18.
The most current information concerning what states have reciprocity agreements with Pennsylvania is posted on the Attorney General's website. To access this information on their web site, select "Crime" and from the drop down box select "Firearm Reciprocity". From here you can view all the states that currently have reciprocity agreements with Pennsylvania along with a copy of the actual reciprocity agreements. All licenses issued by reciprocity states are recognized in Pennsylvania.
Other information included under "Firearm Reciprocity" is a list of states that allow individuals to carry concealed weapons in their state as long as they have a valid concealed weapons permit from their home state, regardless of whether or not there is a reciprocity agreement with that state. These states usually require the individual to have the actual permit and photo ID on their person while carrying the weapon. Note that to lawfully carry a concealed firearm in Pennsylvania, a person must either:
- Possess a valid Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms;
- maintain residency in, and possess a valid license/permit to carry a firearm from a state with which Pennsylvania has a current reciprocity agreement, or;
- fall within the applicable exceptions in 18 Pa. C.S. §6106(2)(b) as listed above, including §6106(2)(b)(15) regarding licenses/permits to carry a firearm recognized under Pennsylvania law without a formal reciprocity agreement.
For a list of the state licenses/permits recognized by the Attorney General under §6106(2)(b)(15), and for more information regarding the carrying of firearms in Pennsylvania, please visit www.attorneygeneral.gov.