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The Current Gun Policy in Pennsylvania of Needing a License to Carry, but a License Not Being Required to Purchase a Gun or Rifle

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An individual who is 21 years of age or older may apply for a license to carry firearms 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, with the chief of police of that city along with the required fee. Individuals who are 21 years of age or older and are NOT Pennsylvania residents may apply for a license by submitting a completed Application for a Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms to any Pennsylvania County Sheriff’s office along with the required fee. A Pennsylvania license cannot be issued to a resident of another state who does not possess a current license or permit or similar document to carry a firearm issued by their home state if a license is provided for by the laws of that state, as published annually in the Federal Register by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms of the Department of the Treasury.

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Pennsylvania is a shall-issue state with concealed weapons permits issued at the county level by the sheriff’s office or if a resident of a city of the first class, with the chief of police of that city

There is no permit required to purchase firearms and although there is no comprehensive firearms registration, the state police maintain a database of all handgun buyers. Private-party transfers of handguns must be conducted through a licensed dealer or at a county sheriff’s office, and a background check is required. These requirements do not apply to transfers between spouses, parents and children, or grandparents and grandchildren. Open carry is legal in Pennsylvania for anyone 18 or older who is legally allowed to possess a firearm. You will need a Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms (LCF) or a permit/license from a state with which PA has reciprocity in order to open or conceal carry in a vehicle and to open carry in the city of Philadelphia. Some areas are off-limits, including schools and courthouses. Concealed carry is legal for residents with an LCF and for non-residents with a license/permit that Pennsylvania honors. Pennsylvania LCFs are issued to residents and non-residents that are at least 21 years old. Non-residents must already have a permit to carry in their home state in order to obtain a Pennsylvania permit. There is no training requirement. In terms of reciprocity, Pennsylvania only honors resident CCW licenses from states with which it has a reciprocity agreement. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms (LCF) holders whose LCF expired on March 19, 2020 or later will be considered to have a valid license until September 30, 2020.

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Generally, in these 21 states, the absence of law addressing gun possession on college and university campuses gives the governing bodies of colleges and universities the authority to prohibit open and concealed carry of firearms. For example, in Iowa and Washington, the public higher education system has adopted an administrative rule prohibiting possession of firearms on campus. In three other states—Kentucky, Maine, and Minnesota—public and private colleges and universities are expressly permitted to pass their own rules concerning guns on campus (Digiacinto v., 2011). Similarly, in Delaware, public institutions of higher education are required to develop security policies that include “regulations governing the possession and use of firearms on campus by employees, students and visitors.” However, developments in some of these 21 states have caused colleges and universities to go in the other direction

For instance, in Pennsylvania, the Governor’s Office of General Counsel and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education issued nonbinding guidance suggesting that an outright ban of firearms on campus would violate the state constitution, causing some colleges to change their policies to allow concealed carry in some campus locations (Utah Code Ann). In Arizona, Kentucky, and Minnesota, state laws appear to prevent colleges and universities from restricting firearms inside private vehicles, even though guns may be prohibited elsewhere on campus.

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To sum up, loaded or unloaded handguns generally cannot be carried in vehicles, unless the person is an LTCF holder (or meets other limited exceptions, such as traveling to or from target practice, in which case the weapon cannot be loaded)

Long guns, meanwhile, cannot be carried loaded in a vehicle whether you have a concealed carry license or not. Pennsylvania does not specifically prohibit firearms in bars or other places where alcoholic beverages are served or sold.

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Utah Code Ann. §§ 53B-3-103(1), (2)(a)(ii), (2)(b), 76-8-311.1; Utah Admin. Code r. 765-254-3.

Digiacinto v. Rector & Visitors of George Mason Univ., 704 S.E.2d 365 (Va. 2011)

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