Confused about purchasing or owning your first (or fifteenth) firearm?

You’re in the right place.

This page contains information regarding the state of Pennsylvania. If you’re not in PA, find information about your state here.


PA permits are honored in blue states, not honored in red states.
This map is from USA, click for more info.

Subject/Law Long guns Handguns
State permit to purchase? No No
Firearm registration? No No*
Assault weapon law? No No
Owner license required? No No
Carry permits issued? Yes* Yes*
Open carry? Yes Yes
Castle Law/Stand Your Ground? Yes Yes
State preemption of local restrictions? Yes Yes
NFA weapons restricted? No No
Peaceable Journey laws? Yes Yes
Background checks required for private sales? No Yes

Have any questions not listed here? Head on over to our contact page and we’ll do our best to answer all your questions.

Is a state permit required to purchase a firearm?

No, in fact in Pennsylvania it is illegal for the government or any police agency to keep a registry of firearms. (See 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111.4) If you legally possess and bring your firearms into PA, no further action is required.

However, it should be noted that transfers of all handguns in PA are required to go through the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) and as such, the PA State Police keep a “sales database” of all handguns purchased within the Commonwealth. As it appears, this does seem to violate the law prohibiting the Police from making a record of the registration of firearms, but it does not as it is not a complete list, the PA Supreme Court ruled.

Do I need a license to carry a firearm?

In PA, a license to carry firearms is required only if you plan on concealing the firearm on yourself, or carrying it in a motor vehicle.

For more information on concealed carry, click here.

For more information on what states respect Pennsylvania’s concealed carry laws, click here.

How old do you have to be to possess a firearm?

The minimum age to possess a firearm is 18, with two exceptions:

  1. The minor is under the supervision of a parent, grandparent, legal guardian, or an adult acting with consent of the minor’s parent or legal guardian and involved in lawful activity.
  2. The minor is lawfully involved in hunting or trapping activities.

Who can apply for a Concealed Carry license?

An individual that is 21 or over may apply by submitting a completed application for a Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms to the sheriff of the county in which they reside, or if a resident of a city of the first class (Philadelphia) with the chief of police of that city, along with the required fee.

Can I own a firearm if I use Marijuana or have a Medical Marijuana card?

Marijuana is federally regulated as a Schedule 1 Narcotic and as such, regardless of its legalization or de-criminalization by the Commonwealth, it remains illegal on the Federal level. Because of this, if you are in possession of a current Medical Marijuana card OR present the appearance of marijuana use by your actions or smelling like marijuana you cannot possess a firearm. Put simply, if you appear to be under the influence or smell like weed WE WILL NOT SERVE YOU.

What do I need to do to legally purchase and own a firearm?

Most people can legally own and possess a firearm so long as they meet certain legal and age requirements.


  1. The individual acquiring the firearm must be of legal age to transfer the gun in question. In PA, this means 18 for long guns such as rifle or shotguns and 21 for any handguns or firearms**.
  2. The individual acquiring the firearm must present a valid, state issued Driver’s License or State issued photo ID card*.
  3. The individual acquiring the firearm must complete a PICS background check for ANY and ALL firearms acquired through an FFL dealer.


  1. All handgun/firearm buyers must be 21 years old at the time of transfer
  2. Only current Pennsylvania residents with a current, valid PA ID and active-duty military personnel on PCS orders to a duty station within Pennsylvania*** may acquire a handgun.


  1. All long gun buyers must be 18 years old at the time of transfer
  2. While long guns can legally be purchased by persons visiting PA from their home state, the buyer must present their current, valid state driver’s license or photo ID*. We must abide by all state regulations so you should be aware that some states prohibit acquisition of all firearms outside the state.

* For the purposes of affecting a firearms transfer, the State issued photo ID or Driver’s License that you present at the time of purchase or transfer shows the address you currently reside at and is within the valid date range. You may also present your photo ID / state license accompanied by a signed, valid change of address card or printed form OR a “camera card” during its valid date range.

** Pennsylvania defines a firearm, for the purposes of purchase or transfer, as follows:

“Any pistol or revolver with a barrel length less than 15 inches, any shotgun with a barrel length less than 18 inches or any rifle with a barrel length less than 16 inches, or any pistol, revolver, rifle or shotgun with an overall length of less than 26 inches.”

This definition includes frames & receivers, “Shockwave” type shotguns, legally transferred or owned SBR’s & SBS’s, as well as certain other common guns.