Articles Posted in Pennsylvania – Gun Trust Lawyer

Open Carry refers to whether an individual is permitted to carry a handgun that is visible.  Some states permit open carry and others do not.  In contrast, many states offer concealed weapons permits.  These allow individuals to have a handgun that is not open and visible.  It is important to understand what your states laws are and how and where you are permitted to have weapons in or near your possession.

Joshua Prince, a 3L law student has complied this information on Open Carry in Pennsylvania. This information was modified by comments received by a retired deputy sheriff who noted that Pittsburgh is a second of the second class and not of the first like Philadelphia is.

To the surprise of many residents, as well as law enforcement officers, individuals who are not prohibited from owning firearms may openly carry a handgun on or about his/her person without a license (18 PA.C.S. § 6106). This has been upheld by the PA Supreme Court in Commonwealth v. Ortiz and Commonwealth v. Hawkins. However, there are some limitations on open carry. Specifically:

Pennsylvania’s UFA: Definitions

    18 PA.C.S. § 6102 deals with defining terms used in the PA Uniform Firearms Act of 1995 (PA UFA). It should be noted that this section is not all inclusive and that particular provisions may have their own definitions.
    “The following words and phrases, when used in this sub-chapter shall have, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the meanings given to them in this section:” (18 PA.C.S. § 6102).

1.    “COMMISSIONER.” The Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police.
2.    “COMMONWEALTH PHOTO IMAGING NETWORK.” The computer network administered by the Commonwealth and used to record and store digital photographs of an individual’s face and any scars, marks, tattoos or other unique features of the individual.
3.    “CONVICTION.” A conviction, a finding of guilty or the entering of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, whether or not judgment of sentence has been imposed, as determined by the law of the jurisdiction in which the prosecution was held. The term does not include a conviction which has been expunged or overturned or for which an individual has been pardoned unless the pardon expressly provides that the individual may not possess or transport firearms.
4.    “COUNTY TREASURER.” The county treasurer or, in home rule or optional plan counties, the person whose duties encompass those of a county treasurer.
        a. The term does not include any of the following:
1.    Federal or State offenses pertaining to antitrust, unfair trade practices, restraint on trade or regulation of business.
2.    State offenses classified as misdemeanors and punishable by a term of imprisonment not to exceed two years”
6.    “FIREARM.” Any pistol or revolver with a barrel length less than 15 inches, any shotgun with a barrel length less than 18 inches or any rifle with a barrel length less than 16 inches, or any pistol, revolver, rifle or shotgun with an overall length of less than 26 inches. The barrel length of a firearm shall be determined by measuring from the muzzle of the barrel to the face of the closed action, bolt or cylinder, whichever is applicable.
7.    “FUND.” The Firearm Ownership Fund established in section 6111.3 (relating to Firearm Ownership Fund).
8.    “LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER.” Any person employed by any police department or organization of the Commonwealth or political subdivision thereof who is empowered to effect an arrest with or without warrant and who is authorized to carry a firearm in the performance of that person’s duties.
9.    “LOADED.” A firearm is loaded if the firing chamber, the nondetachable magazine or in the case of a revolver, any of the chambers of the cylinder contain ammunition capable of being fired. In the case of a firearm which utilizes a detachable magazine, the term shall mean a magazine suitable for use in said firearm which magazine contains such ammunition and has been inserted in the firearm or is in the same container or, where the container has multiple compartments, the same compartment thereof as the firearm.
10.    “PENNSYLVANIA SHERIFFS’ ASSOCIATION.” The State association of sheriffs authorized by the act of June 14, 1923 (P.L. 774, No. 305), entitled “An act authorizing the sheriffs of the several counties of this Commonwealth to organize themselves into a State Association, for the purpose of holding annual meetings, to secure more uniformity and cooperation in the conduct of their offices, and providing for the payment of certain expenses in connection with such meetings by the various counties.”
11.    “SAFEKEEPING PERMIT.” As defined in 23 PA.C.S. § 6102 (relating to definitions).
12.    “SHERIFF.”
    a. Except as provided in paragraph (b), the sheriff of the county.
    b. In a city of the first class, the chief or head of the police department.
13.    “STATE.” When used in reference to different parts of the United States, includes the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and territories and possessions of the United States.

Depending on the type of firearm, either long gun or handgun, the laws regarding transportation differ. (18 PA.C.S. § 6106).

A long gun includes rifles, shotguns, and may include NFA firearms, depending on whether the barrel and overall length classifies it as a long rifle or handgun. All long guns must be unloaded, prior to transport; meaning that the chamber must be clear and all magazines removed.  Ammunition must be stored in a separate container and cannot be loaded in the magazines.

A handgun must also be unloaded, prior to transport, unless the individual possesses a valid PA License to Carry Firearms (LTCF) or other similar license issued by another state, which PA honors. For more information see the article on Pennsylvania Concealed Gun Reciprocity.  Moreover, handguns may only be transported to and from specific activities and locations. Some examples of “to and From” are the place of purchase, repair, range, hunting location, or other places listed in 18 PA.C.S. § 6106. 

To carry a handgun concealed in public, an individual must possess a valid Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms (LTCF, 18 PA.C.S. § 6106) or an equivalent license issued by a state that Pennsylvania honors (See for up to date reciprocity agreements).

An individual may carry a concealed handgun, without a LTCF:

  1. in one’s home,
  2. fixed place of business, and
  3. on private property where permission has been given

(18 PA.C.S. § 6106).

Moreover, an individual cannot carry a handgun in a vehicle without a valid Pennsylvania LTCF or an equivalent license issued by a state that Pennsylvania honors (18 PA.C.S. § 6106). Nevertheless, an individual with a LTCF is NOT required to carry concealed; he/she may carry openly, including in cities of the first class, such as Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, Tom Corbett, has been instrumental in enacting new reciprocity agreements between Pennsylvania and other states. For the most up to date information, an individual should check the Attorney General’s website. On the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s site, an individual can download copies of each reciprocity agreement. Follow the following links for a map of US reciprocity agreements, a Map of Pennsylvania Reciprocity agreements.

Currently, an individual with a Pennsylvania LTCF may conceal carry in Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, and Wyoming.

If you are a Pennsylvania resident the following states will also honor your LTCT Colorado, Florida, Michigan, New Hampshire, West Virginia Open Carry may or may not be legal in the above states.

We have associations with lawyers and attorneys in Pennsylvania.  These Pennsylvania Gun Trust Lawyer®s can provide NFA gun Trusts for the entire state of Pennsylvania.  A NFA Gun Trust can help protect individuals and their families from the criminal and civil penalties associated with the improper transfer or possession of a class 3 firearm regulated under the National Firearms Act.  In addition, the process of purchasing a silencer, SBR, or machine gun can be significantly reduced in the amount of time required and paperwork that is required.

They have offices in

  • Allentown Pennsylvania;
  • Bechtelsville Pennsylvania;
  • Camp Hill Pennsylvania;
  • Exton Pennsylvania;
  • Pottstown Pennsylvania;
  • Lancaster Pennsylvania;
  • Lebanon Pennsylvania;
  • North Wales Pennsylvania;
  • Pottstown Pennsylvania; and
  • Reading Pennsylvania

If you are located in another area of Pennsylvania they can also provide services by email and telephone in much the same way as if you were in their office.

To contact a Pennsylvania Gun Trust Lawyer® fill our our Contact form.

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