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 www.attorneygeneral.gov for up to date reciprocity agreements).
An individual may carry a concealed handgun, without a LTCF:
- in one’s home,
- fixed place of business, and
- 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.
Under the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act (UFA), Pennsylvania resident LTCF are issued by the county sheriff of the jurisdiction in which the applicant resides. Nonresidents licenses are issued by select county sheriff offices.
Pennsylvania is a “shall issue” state, meaning that the appropriate sheriff must issue the license, unless the applicant is prohibited.
There are places which are off-limits in Pennsylvania , when concealed carrying. These include:
1. All Federal Facilities (Unless Authorized);
2. All Court Facilities;
3. State Parks (except while in a vehicle);
4. Adult and Juvenile Detention Facilities; and 5. Airport Terminals (secure areas only).
The issue of both open and concealed carry on school property has not been determined. Per 18 PA.C.S. 912, possession of “a weapon in the buildings of, on the grounds of, or in any conveyance providing transportation to or from any elementary or secondary publicly-funded educational institution, any elementary or secondary private school licensed by the Department of Education or any elementary or secondary parochial school” is a misdemeanor of the first degree. However, the statute allows for “a defense that the weapon is possessed and used in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity or course or is possessed for other lawful purpose.”
There is an issue of the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP newsletter regarding CCW on/in schools zones. It gives an example of a PA concealed license permit as being an exception to the federal law; however, there is no definitive answer at this time. You might read page 3 of the PSP newsletter regarding CCW on/in a school zone.PA firearms2006_Dec.pdf
It should be noted that Pennsylvania allows the concealed (with a LTCF) or open carry of a firearm in an establishment that sells or serves alcohol.
Anyone considering open or concealed carry should check out the PAOpenCarry.org website and brochure