Firearm Offenses in Pennsylvania: What You Need to Know

Possessing a firearm can be legal or illegal depending on your license status, prior record, and how and where you possess it. If you are facing weapon charges in Pennsylvania, you need an experienced attorney in your corner. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the Keystone State’s laws surrounding firearm offenses.

Who Can Legally Own a Gun in Pennsylvania?

Defined by the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act, a firearm is a revolver or pistol with barrels less than 15 inches in length. Shotguns and rifles must have barrels less than 18 inches and 16 inches, respectively. Individuals convicted of a felony and children under 18 years old are not permitted to carry firearms. The only exception to this law is when parents or guardians of minors consent to allow the minor to use a firearm for hunting purposes.

Does Pennsylvania Allow Residents to Carry a Concealed Firearm?

Yes. However, if law enforcement discovers you are carrying a concealed firearm, you must be in possession of a valid license to carry firearms issued by the state of PA. A license to carry firearms allows PA residents to legally carry a concealed firearm on their person or in a vehicle. If you do not have a license to carry a concealed firearm and are caught, you will be charged with a third-degree felony.

What Is a Prohibitive Offensive Weapon Charge in Pennsylvania?

Weapons listed under the federal National Firearms Act include machine guns, sawed-off shotguns, guns equipped with silencers, and firearms deliberately altered to enhance concealment. It is illegal to carry or use these types of weapons in PA.

Will Other States Honor a Concealed Carry Permit Issued in PA?

Pennsylvania has a “reciprocity” agreement with several states that allows PA residents to legally carry a firearm in that state as long as they have a PA concealed carry license. States that do not have a reciprocity agreement with PA include Delaware, New York, and New Jersey. If you are caught carrying a firearm in one of these states even though you have a license to carry in PA, you could be charged with a felony.

Do I Need a License to Buy a Firearm for Personal Protection in PA?

You are not required to obtain a license or permit to keep a firearm in your home or business for protection. However, if you are caught by police taking the firearm outside your home and carrying it in your vehicle or on your person, you could be charged with a felony.

Although Pennsylvania has lenient firearm laws, being charged with a firearm felony is serious and may involve jail time. If you have been charged with a firearm violation, get legal expertise by contacting our criminal defense lawyers in Pennsylvania today.