The Pennsylvania State Police announced that Governor Tom Wolf has granted an extension to license to carry firearms permits. Permits expired on March 19, 2020 or later have been extended to September 30, 2020. The extension is necessary because some sheriff's departments have been unable to conduct the necessary background investigations for license to carry renewal applications during the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic.
PSP Firearms Division
The Pennsylvania State Police Firearms Division is part of the Bureau of Records and Identification and is charged with maintaining records related to firearms licensing and transfers.
The Firearms Division also operates the
Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS), which is used by firearms dealers to verify an applicant’s eligibility to legally purchase a firearm in just a few minute's time.
Partially Manufactured Frames, Receivers and Kits
The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has, as of January 31, 2020, enjoined the Pennsylvania State Police from requiring a background check through the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) for the sale of partially manufactured frames and receivers. Until further notice, the transfer of partially manufactured frames and receivers does not require any background check through the PICS system and does not require the completion of any forms. All firearms and firearm frames and receivers which required a background check to be completed prior to December 16, 2019 are still subject to all requirements found in the Uniform Firearms Act, including the requirement for a background check through the PICS system.
Information for Medical Marijuana Cardholders
It is legal under Pennsylvania law for the holder of a validly issued patient Medical Marijuana Card to possess approved forms of medical marijuana. However, as per the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), the possession of medical marijuana remains a violation of federal law, and possession of a valid Medical Marijuana Card and/or the use of medical marijuana makes you an “unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance” who is prohibited by federal law from the purchase or acquisition, possession, or control of a firearm pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3), and 27 C.F.R. § 478.32(a)(3).
The BATFE’s position is set forth in its September 21, 2011, Open Letter to all Federal Firearms Licensees, which states in part that “[t]herefore, any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her State has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes, is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance, and is prohibited by Federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.”
Click here for a copy of the Open Letter. Likewise, the mere possession of a Medical Marijuana Card will give rise to an inference that you are an “unlawful user of or addicted to” a controlled substance, pursuant to 27 C.F.R. § 478.11.
Therefore, it is also unlawful for you to apply for, possess or renew a Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearm (LTC), because you are “[a]n individual who is prohibited from possessing or acquiring a firearm under the statutes of the United States.” (Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Chapter 18, Section 6109(e)(1)(xiv).
Gun Shows, Auctions, and Raffles
The PSP Firearms Division would ask that all gun shows, auctions, raffles and sales be reported to the PICS Unit, preferably at least 30 days in advance of the event. This advance notice allows us to plan for additional staffing as needed, in order to serve you with the utmost efficiency. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at 717-705-8843.
Firearm Disposal upon Death of a Firearm Owner
The death of a friend or loved is a difficult time. Survivors not only have to deal with the emotional loss, but also have to deal with the disposition of property that might include firearms. In Pennsylvania, how a deceased person's property is distributed is controlled by provisions of the Pennsylvania Probation, Estates and Fiduciaries Code. This can be a complicated process and depend on many different facts (for example: is there a will or not, are the firearms part of a trust or are they short-barreled or automatic firearms registered with the Federal Government?). As a result, it is important to consult with an attorney prior to distributing or otherwise disposing of any property, including a firearm but here are a few points to keep in mind:
- A firearm belonging to the deceased individual is personal property, like any other item he or she owned prior to their death and must be distributed along with the rest of the estate by the estate's Personal Representative (i.e., either the executor or administrator).
- If you are the beneficiary, you may wish to contact an attorney regarding possession of firearms belonging to the estate and the best way for you to obtain possession of it or them (i.e., adhering to proper firearm transfer procedures, or dealing with heirs located outside Pennsylvania).
- You, or the ultimate recipient of any firearm must not be a prohibited person under either 18 U.S.C. § 922 or 18 Pa.C.S. § 6105 from receiving or possessing a firearm.
- If the firearm is unwanted, there are several ways it might be disposed of after taking lawful possession of the firearm. First, you may wish to sell the firearm to a Federal Firearms Licensee (Gun Dealer). Second, you could contact your local police department to see if they accept unwanted firearms to be destroyed. Third, firearms can always be surrendered to your local State Police station.
As noted, dealing with estate issues can be complicated process and adding firearms to the mix may make it even more so, consequently consulting with an attorney may make the process easier (and safer) for everyone involved.
ACT 79 Information
Firearms Annual Reports