Last Updated: September 10, 2017
Disclaimer: While the information provided here is legal in nature, it is not to be construed as legal advice, and is for educational and entertainment purposes only.
With gun laws varying from state to state, it makes sense the rules on concealed carry for each state would also be a little different everywhere.
Even though it’s a hassle to buy a handgun in Pennsylvania, the state doesn’t have too many hurdles in the way for anyone wanting to get a CCW permit.
Our quick reference guide has everything you need to know to carry your handgun responsibly!
How To Get a Permit
As a shall-issue state, Pennsylvania will issue a license to carry (LTC) that allows you to carry a concealed handgun, as long as you meet all the requirements and provide the information required on the application.
Qualifications for the License
Pennsylvania actually offers two types of LTCs: one for residents, and one for non-residents.
Getting an LTC as a Pennsylvania resident isn’t too difficult. You’ll need to apply to the sheriff of your county, or for those of you who live in Philadelphia, you’ll need to apply to the Chief of Police.
As long as you are 21 or older, you can fill out the application form, along with the filing fee and other documentation requested by the application, and just sit back and wait for your LTC to come in the mail!
Non-Residents, Be Careful
There are extra steps if you want to apply for an LTC as a non-resident. You must still be 21 or older, but in addition to the age requirement and filling out the LTC application, you will also have to already have a CCW permit from your home state. For those of you hoping to get an out of state license because it’s too hard to get one in your home state, you’re out of luck.
But There’s More!
Even if you meet the requirements of the LTC application, whether it’s for a resident or non-resident version, there are still situations where you will be automatically denied an LTC.
You will be denied an LTC if the sheriff or chief of police determines you:
- Are found to have a reputation or character for acting in a manner dangerous to public safety;
- Are currently charged with or convicted of felonies involving violence;
- Are a habitual drunkard or abuser of controlled substances;
- Are of unsound mind or have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution; or
- Have been dishonorably discharged from the US Armed Forces.
The Waiting Game
If everything goes well and you do not fall into any of the categories that would deny your LTC application, you should get your shiny new LTC in the mail in about 45 days. Residents of Philly may have to wait a little bit longer, but you can just go to the range in the meantime and brush up on your marksmanship while you wait!
If you are denied an LTC for any reason, you’ll receive a letter in the mail instead, listing out why you were denied and what you can do to fix the problem. Just follow the instructions and address any of the issues you need to and get your LTC application back on track!
Once you finally get that LTC in the mail, you’ll just need to remember to keep it on you at all times, and to renew it every 5 years!
Where’re You Going?
Just like with firearms in general, even with an LTC, there are still places where you cannot bring your guns. You cannot bring firearms into school property or court facilities. Of course, any government building or property would probably be off limits to your guns as well, so you’ll want to keep an eye out for signs stating that.
Even if you are somewhere guns are permitted, you’ll need to be sure that when you come into contact with law enforcement officers, either because of a traffic stop or any other reason, you provide your LTC to them when they ask for it. You do not want them to find your gun on their own during a patdown!
On the bright side, with the LTC, you can carry a loaded firearm in the car! But you probably still want to keep it secure while driving around, just in case.
One of the best reasons to get an LTC! In addition to allowing you to carry concealed in Pennsylvania, the LTC is also recognized by other states across the country, so you can keep that handgun strapped to your waist during your next vacation!
Since there are more states that do recognize a Pennsylvania LTC than do not, it’s easier to list out the states that don’t.
A Pennsylvania LTC is not recognized by:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
As long as the state you want to visit is not on this list, you’re good to go!
If You’re Just Visiting
Pennsylvania does recognize CCW permits from other states as well! If you have a CCW permit and you are not on the list above, your CCW permit is probably recognized by Pennsylvania. Probably, because there are some exceptions.
If you have a non-resident permit from Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, Utah, or Virginia, then it is no good in the state of Pennsylvania. Only resident permits from those states will be honored by the Keystone State.
For those of you with permits from North Dakota, only Class 1 permits are good in the state. Class 2 permits are not recognized, unfortunately, so you’ll have to leave your gun at home, or come back when you’ve upgraded your permit to a Class 1 permit. Tough break.
And that’s it! All you need to know about getting a license to carry from Pennsylvania! Take a look at our recommendations for concealed holsters if you’re looking to put that new permit to good use, and don’t forget about CCW insurance!
And don’t forget to check out our Pennsylvania gun laws section and brush up on your knowledge of all non-LTC related state gun laws!