Design Safety Standards for Handguns in Pennsylvania

Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2015

Pennsylvania does not specifically regulate junk guns or unsafe firearms. According to research conducted by the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence (now Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence), however, Pennsylvania’s Attorney General may have the authority to regulate junk guns, as well as promulgate other firearms safety standards, pursuant to the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law.1 For details, view the Center’s report, Targeting Safety.

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. 73 Pa. Stat. Ann. §§ 201-3, 201-3.1. []

Guns in Schools in Pennsylvania

Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2015

Pennsylvania prohibits the possession of firearms in the buildings of, on the grounds of, or in any conveyance providing transportation to or from any elementary or secondary publicly-funded educational institution, any elementary or secondary private school licensed by the Department of Education or any elementary or secondary parochial school.1 However, a defense to the statute exists where the weapon is possessed and used in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity or course or “is possessed for other lawful purpose.”2

State law prohibits hunting with a firearm in a “safety zone,” defined as an area within 150 yards of “any attached or detached playground of any school, nursery school or day-care center.”3

Holders of a license to carry a firearm are subject to these location limits.

See our Guns in Schools policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 912. []
  2. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 912(c). []
  3. 34 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 2505(a), (c). []

Open Carrying in Pennsylvania

Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2015

Pennsylvania generally allows the open carrying of firearms without a license. However, in Philadelphia (the only “city of the first class”),1 a license is required to openly carry a firearm.2

See our Open Carrying of Firearms in Public policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. 53 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 101. []
  2. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §§ 6108-6109. []

Licensing of Gun Owners & Purchasers in Pennsylvania

Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2015

Pennsylvania has no law requiring gun owners or purchasers to obtain a license.

See our Licensing of Gun Owners or Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Reporting Lost or Stolen Firearms in Pennsylvania

Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2015

Pennsylvania does not require firearm owners to report the loss or theft of a firearm. However, in 2008, Pennsylvania amended its law prohibiting the false reporting of an offense or incident to law enforcement authorities to make the offense graded one step greater if the false report involves the theft or loss of a firearm.1

See our Reporting Lost or Stolen Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 4906. []

Gun Shows in Pennsylvania

Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2015

Pennsylvania does not specifically regulate gun shows. However, it does regulate where and how private persons may transfer handguns and short-barreled rifles and shotguns to unlicensed transferees.1 Pennsylvania law specifies that the place of business for a retail dealer includes a lawful gun show or meet.2 Since a transfer of a handgun must be carried out at the place of business of a licensed dealer,3 a private person may transfer a handgun to an unlicensed transferee at a gun show. However, the private seller must have a licensed importer, manufacturer, dealer or county sheriff’s office perform a background check on the prospective purchaser.4 The licensee must also follow all other dealer regulations specified in the Pennsylvania Dealer Regulations section before transferring the handgun.5

See also the Pennsylvania Private Sales section for state laws that apply at gun shows.

See our Gun Shows policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111(c). []
  2. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6113(a). []
  3. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111(c). []
  4. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111(c); 37 Pa. Code § 33.111(g). []
  5. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111(c); 37 Pa. Code § 33.111(g). []

Microstamping & Ballistic Identification in Pennsylvania

Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2015

Pennsylvania has no laws regarding microstamping or ballistic identification.

See our Ballistic Identification and Firearm Microstamping policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of these issues.

Ammunition Regulation in Pennsylvania

Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2015

Pennsylvania law makes it a separate crime for a person who commits or attempts to commit a “crime of violence” to possess, use or attempt to use a KTW teflon-coated bullet or other “armor-piercing ammunition” while committing or attempting to commit that crime.1 “Armor-piercing ammunition” is defined as:

[A]mmunition which, when or if fired from any firearm as defined in section 6102 that is used or attempted to be used in violation of subsection (a) under the test procedure of the National Institute of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Standard for the Ballistics Resistance of Police Body Armor promulgated December 1978, is determined to be capable of penetrating bullet-resistant apparel or body armor meeting the requirements of Type IIA of Standard NILECJ-STD-0101.01 as formulated by the United States Department of Justice and published in December of 1978.2

Pennsylvania law does not otherwise regulate the sale or possession of ammunition in any way.

See our Ammunition Regulation policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6121. []
  2. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6121(d). []

Non-Powder Guns in Pennsylvania

Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2015

With certain exceptions, Pennsylvania law prohibits:

  • Any person from selling, lending, giving, or otherwise transferring any air rifle to any person under age 18, except where the relationship of parent and child, guardian and ward or adult instructor and pupil exists between such person and the person under age 18.1
  • Any dealer from selling, lending, renting, giving, or otherwise transferring an air rifle to any person under age 18, where the dealer knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, the person to be under age 18, or where such dealer has failed to make reasonable inquiry relative to the age of such person, and such person is under age 18.2
  • Any person under age 18 from carrying any air rifle on the highways or public lands unless accompanied by an adult, except that a person under age 18 may carry such rifle unloaded in a suitable case or securely wrapped.3
  • Any person from discharging any air rifle from or across any highway or public land or any public place, except on a properly constructed target range.4

These provisions do not affect the validity of any ordinance enacted by any political subdivision which imposes greater restrictions or limitations in respect to the sale and purchase, use or possession of air rifles.5

“Air rifle” is defined as “[a]ny air gun, air pistol, spring gun, spring pistol, B-B gun, or any implement that is not a firearm, which impels a pellet of any kind with a force that can reasonably be expected to cause bodily harm. The term does not include a paintball gun or paintball marker.”6

See our Non-Powder Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6304(a)(2). []
  2. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6304(a)(1). []
  3. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6304(b)(1). []
  4. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6304(b)(2). []
  5. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6304(e). []
  6. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6304(g). []

Fifty Caliber Rifles in Pennsylvania

Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2015

Pennsylvania has no law restricting fifty caliber rifles.

See our Fifty Caliber Rifles policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.