Pennsylvania law requires that you hold a lawfully-issued license if you wish to carry a firearm in the state. You must also be at least 21 years of age. Carrying a firearm without a license in Pennsylvania is a first-degree misdemeanor if you are "legally eligible" to obtain a license. It is a third-degree felony to carry without a license if you are considered legally "ineligible" to obtain a license. If you don't already hold a license, you are considered legally eligible to obtain a license (and therefore subject to lesser penalties for this offense) if you have no previous criminal violations on your record.
Carrying a Firearm Without a License - Exceptions
There are exceptions to this provision. You are lawfully permitted to carry a firearm without a license in your own home or fixed place of business - even if you are considered legally "ineligible" to hold a license because of prior criminal record. There is also a hefty list of individuals exempted from this statute, usually based on their profession. Those who are exempted include the following.
(1) Local, state, and federal law enforcement officers.
(2) Members of the army, navy, marine corps, air force or coast guard of the United States or of the National Guard or organized reserves while on duty.
(3) Enrolled members of any organization that purchases or receives firearms from the US or Pennsylvania.
(4) Anyone who is using the firearm for target shooting, if they are at/on their way to and from target practice, so long as they keep the gun unloaded while it is not in use.
(5) US Employees authorized to carry a concealed firearm.
(6) Bank and business employees who are charged with protecting or transporting money and valuables while they are on the job.
(7) Anyone in the business of manufacturing, repairing, or dealing in firearms, who is simply conducting business.
(8) Anyone who is carrying an unloaded, securely wrapped firearm:
- from its place of purchase to their home or place of business
- to a place of repair, sale, or appraisal
- to a place of instruction intended to teach the safe handling of firearms
- to a place where they will relinquish the firearm.
(9) Pennsylvania-licensed hunters, fishers, and furbearer while in the course of hunting, taking furbearers, or fishing as permitted by such license, or who are going to the places where they intend to do so.
(10) Anyone training dogs during regular training season.
(12) A person whose license expired less than six months ago and they are eligible for renewal.
(13) Anyone who is driving a vehicle registered in their name who is carrying a firearm without a license, so long as the firearm is lawfully licensed to their spouse.
(14) A person lawfully engaged in the interstate transportation of a firearm as defined under 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(3) in compliance with 18 U.S.C. § 926A.
(15) Anyone carrying a firearm with a lawfully-issued license from another state, if
- that state provides a reciprocal privilege for individuals licensed to carry firearms,
- the Attorney General has determined that the firearm laws of that state are similar to the firearm laws of Pennsylvania.
How Do I Obtain A License to Carry A Firearm in Pennsylvania?
You must have a clean criminal record in order to obtain a license to carry a firearm in the state. You will apply with your local county sheriff's office where they will review your record, run and background check and confirm you have no outstanding charges or warrants.
Penalties for Carrying Without a License in Pennsylvania
If you are deemed legally eligible to be issued a license but didn't hold one at the time of your arrest, you will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. The penalties for this offense include up to 5 years in prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines. These penalties can be considerably mitigated by a knowledgeable, dedicated Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney.
Those who are considered legally ineligible to hold a license will be charged with a third-degree felony if they are accused of carrying a firearm without a license. The penalties of a convicted felony are steeper than that of a misdemeanor, punctuating the already considerable need to retain a Pennsylvania defense attorney to combat your charges. When charged with this felony, you face up to $15,000 in fines and a whopping 7 years in prison. The sooner you contact Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney to review your charges for carrying without a license, the sooner you can put this overblown charge and the dark cloud of its penalties behind you.
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney
After being charged with carrying a firearm without a license, equip yourself with a skilled Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney. Joseph D. Lento will scrutinize the charges against you and mount a defense on your behalf. Immediately contact attorney Joseph D. Lento for a consultation of your case.