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.