Carrying Firearms in Pennsylvania

Find answers to common questions about carrying firearms in Pennsylvania.

Common questions

LTC permits: 1,638,341; Sportsman permits: 10,335​ as of July 1, 2024.

A person who is 21 years of age or older may apply for a License to Carry Firearms. The license allows individuals to carry a firearm concealed on their body or in a vehicle. The license is valid for five years unless revoked.

Submit applications to the sheriff of the county where you live. If you live in a city of the first class (Philadelphia), submit applications to the chief of police. Remember the required fee.

Pennsylvania may issue a License to Carry Firearms to out-of-state residents who possess a valid concealed carry permit or license from their home state.

NOTE: Some Pennsylvania county sheriffs will not issue nonresident License to Carry permits. Contact the Pennsylvania Sheriffs' Association for additional information regarding the issuance of nonresident License to Carry permits.

Issuing agencies have 45 days to determine eligibility for a License to Carry Firearms. The investigation includes a criminal background check through the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS). Under 18 Pa. C.S. §6109, a sheriff may deny a License to Carry Firearms if they believe a person's character and reputation is such that they would likely act in a manner dangerous to public safety.

NOTE: A license to carry is NOT a license to purchase. Individuals must complete a background check when buying a firearm from a licensed dealer.

A License to Carry Firearms allows you to carry a firearm concealed on your body or in a vehicle. Carrying a firearm in a vehicle or concealed on the body, except in your home or fixed place of business, without a valid license is a felony of the third degree.

It is a misdemeanor of the first degree when a person without a valid license carries a firearm in a vehicle or concealed on their body, except in their home or fixed place of business, if they committed no other criminal violation and are otherwise eligible to possess a license.

Pennsylvania law makes several exceptions including police officers, security guards, on-duty military, and people engaged in target shooting. An exception for hunting, fishing, trapping and dog training requires a valid Sportman's Firearm Permit. (See "Who can apply for a Sportsman's Firearm Permit?") All exceptions are found in 18 Pa. C.S. § 6106(b).

 

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.

In 1995, the Pennsylvania General Assembly gave the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General the authority to negotiate reciprocity agreements with other states to allow the mutual recognition of each state's license to carry a firearm.

Information concerning those states with reciprocity agreements with Pennsylvania is posted on the Attorney General's website. Select "Resources" from the menu and click on "Concealed Carry Reciprocity". You can view all the states that have reciprocity agreements with Pennsylvania and get a copy of reciprocity agreements. Pennsylvania recognizes all licenses issued by reciprocity states.

Other information included under "Concealed Carry Reciprocity" is a list of states that allow individuals to carry concealed weapons as long as they have a valid license to carry from their home state, regardless of a reciprocity agreement. These states usually require individuals to have the permit and a photo ID on their person while carrying the weapon.

Note that to lawfully carry a concealed firearm in Pennsylvania, a person must either:

  1. Possess a valid Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms;
  2. 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;
  3. Fall within the applicable exceptions in 18 Pa. C.S. §6106(b) as listed above, including §6106(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(b)(15) and for more information regarding the carrying of firearms in Pennsylvania, visit www.attorneygeneral.gov.