Pennsylvania Open Carry

Pennsylvania Open Carry: Laws, Requirements, Application & Online Training

Pennsylvania is among the states in America where the use of firearms is legal. However, it’s essential to be familiar with the state’s gun statutes that regulate the possession, use, and types of firearms. This article serves as a comprehensive guide to Pennsylvania’s gun laws, focusing on open carry regulations. Whether you are a resident or planning to visit the state, understanding these laws is crucial.

Pennsylvania Gun Laws Summary

Before we delve into open carry regulations, let’s briefly overview Pennsylvania’s general gun laws:

  1. License to Carry: You can possess firearms in Pennsylvania with a state-issued license to carry. The application for this license is handled by the local county sheriff’s office, while first-class residents can apply through the police department in a city.
  2. Shall-Issue State: Pennsylvania follows a “shall-issue” policy, meaning you will receive your permit if you meet all requirements.
  3. Purchase Permit: The state does not issue a purchase permit to use firearms, but a background check is required during the transfer of firearms between non-family members.
  4. Age Requirement: To apply for a Pennsylvania license to carry firearms, you must be at least twenty-one years old.

Is It Legal To Open Carry In Pennsylvania?

Yes, open carry in Pennsylvania is legal for anyone at least eighteen years old, without a prior history of delinquency or felony.

Open Carry Gun Laws In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is considered a permissive open-carry state, which means you do not need a permit to open-carry. However, if you intend to use firearms categorized as offensive under the law, you must have a license and adhere to federal regulations. This exemption does not apply to law enforcement officers and military members in the state.

See also  Florida Open Carry

Pennsylvania Open Gun Laws Quick View

Law/PolicyLong GunsHandgunsComments
State permit for open carryNoNoPennsylvania gun law statutes do not require you to own a license before you open carry in the state.
Firearm registrations for open carryNoNoYou have no state requirement to register any firearm specifically for open carry in Pennsylvania.
Assault weapon for open carryNoNoThe state bans offensive weapons and firearms. However, if you have an NFA license to open carry, you can carry in compliance with federal laws.
Magazine limitNoNoPennsylvania does not have any magazine limit for firearms in the state. Large capacity firearms are not prohibited.
License for the owner of a firearmNot requiredNot requiredThere are no requirements to own a license for firearms in Pennsylvania.
Red flag lawNoNoPennsylvania does not have any red flag law or the issuance of an extreme risk protection order.
Castle doctrine lawYesYesPennsylvania is a castle doctrine state with a stand-your-ground and no duty-to-retreat policy in places where you have legal rights to be.
Background check for private dealersYesYesPennsylvania does not have any magazine limit for firearms in the state. Large-capacity firearms are not prohibited.
PreemptionYesYesPrivate dealers of firearms in Pennsylvania must complete sales via state or federally-licensed dealers or the office of a sheriff in a local county.
Concealed carry permit.YesYesPennsylvania license to carry is the only legal permit for concealed carry in the state.
Concealed carry in personal vehicleYesYesIf you have a Pennsylvania license to carry, you can conceal firearms in your vehicle.
Open carry in SchoolsNoNoOpen carry is not allowed in schools, colleges, universities, and technical institutions in the state.

Where Is It Legal To Open Carry In Pennsylvania?

Open carry of firearms in Pennsylvania is legal in the following parts of the state:

  1. Restaurants and bars: You can open carry and possess a firearm in restaurant areas, except where there is a post prohibiting the possession of weapons.
  2. Roadside areas: You can open carry in Pennsylvania roadside areas as long as the local county permits it.
  3. State forests and parks: You can open carry in parks, forests, and wildlife management areas in the state.
  4. Places of worship: You can open carry in places of worship, except when the management does not permit it.
See also  West Virginia Open Carry

Where Is It Illegal To Open Carry In Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania gun laws prohibit the possession of firearms in the following places:

  1. Schools: You cannot open carry on school premises, including colleges and universities. Also, possession of firearms is not allowed in school buses or any school facility.
  2. Courthouses: Pennsylvania courthouses are off-limits for the possession of firearms in the state.
  3. Prisons: You cannot possess firearms or concealed carry in prisons, jails, and detention facilities in the state.
  4. Hospitals: You cannot open carry or possess firearms in Pennsylvania state hospitals or any other psychiatric home.
  5. Public places: You cannot open carry in public areas of the state as well as facilities used by departments and law enforcement agencies.
  6. Secure areas of airports: You cannot open carry or possess firearms in safety zones of airport areas in the state.
  7. Prohibited places: You cannot open carry in areas of the state restricted by federal laws.

Relevant Open Carry Laws And Legislature In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has several laws related to open carry and firearm possession:

  1. Ammunition Restrictions: The state prohibits the use of certain ammunition, such as Teflon-coated and armor-piercing bullets, for unlawful activities.
  2. Preemption Laws: Pennsylvania has preemption gun laws, which means that the state’s regulations supersede any local laws related to firearms. However, local governments have the authority to regulate the use and discharge of firearms within their jurisdiction.
  3. Brandishing Weapons: Publicly using a firearm in rage, recklessly, or to threaten another person is considered improper conduct, except during legal use by law enforcement officers or in self-defense situations. Weapons laws should be adhered to.”
  4. Red Flag Law: Pennsylvania does not have any red flag policy or extreme risk protection order issuance.
  5. Open Carry While Hunting: Pennsylvania allows the open carry of firearms while hunting, with the exception of using firearms for bow hunting.
  6. Hunter Harassment Laws: Pennsylvania has hunter harassment laws to protect lawful hunting activities. Interfering with hunting activities or disturbing wildlife is considered a violation of these laws.
See also  New Mexico Open Carry


Understanding PA open Carry (Pennsylvania’s gun laws), especially those related to open carry, is essential for residents and visitors alike. As a permissive open carry state, Pennsylvania allows individuals over eighteen years old to open carry without a permit, except for firearms categorized as offensive by the law.

While open carry is permitted in certain locations, it’s crucial to be aware of prohibited areas, including schools, courthouses, and hospitals.

Whether you are a gun owner or planning to visit Pennsylvania, staying informed about these regulations will ensure you exercise your rights responsibly and within the bounds of the law.


Q1. Can I open carry in Pennsylvania without a license?

Yes, you can open carry in Pennsylvania without a license if you are at least eighteen years old and not previously a delinquent or a felon.

Q2. Is Pennsylvania a shall-issue state for concealed carry permits?

Yes, Pennsylvania follows a shall-issue policy for concealed carry permits, meaning you will receive the permit if you meet all requirements.

Q3. Can I open carry in state parks in Pennsylvania?

Yes, you can open carry in state parks and forests in Pennsylvania, as well as wildlife management areas.

Q4. Does Pennsylvania have a red flag law?

No, Pennsylvania does not have a red flag policy or the issuance of an extreme risk protection order.

Q5. Are there any restrictions on ammunition in Pennsylvania?

Yes, Pennsylvania prohibits the use of certain ammunition, such as Teflon-coated and armor-piercing bullets, for unlawful activities.

Q6. What are the laws for owning a gun in PA?

Pennsylvania requires background checks and prohibits certain types of weapons, but has no permits, registration, or waiting periods for owning most firearms.

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