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. []

Multiple Purchases & Sales of Firearms in Pennsylvania

Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2015

Pennsylvania has no law restricting sales or purchases of multiple firearms.

See our Restrictions on Multiple Purchases or Sales of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Disarming Prohibited Persons in Pennsylvania

Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2015

With the exception of persons subject to an active protection from abuse order, Pennsylvania law gives persons prohibited from possessing firearms a “reasonable period of time, not to exceed 60 days from the date of the imposition” of the firearm prohibition, in which to sell or transfer his or her firearms to another eligible person who is not a member of the prohibited person’s household.1

A policy of the Philadelphia Adult Probation and Parole Department provides that anyone under its supervision has 10 days to dispose of a weapon. This policy provides for surrender of firearms to the police department, sale to a licensed firearms dealer, or sale to an eligible person. After the person sells or transfers his or her firearms, he or she is required to provide his or her Probation or Parole officer with a receipt or record of sale.2

For laws governing the procedure for surrender of firearms by a person subject to a protective order, see the section entitled Domestic Violence and Firearms in Pennsylvania.

  1. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6105(a)(1)(i). []
  2. First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, Adult Probation and Parole Department, Firearms Surrender Policy. []

Waiting Periods in Pennsylvania

Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2015

Pennsylvania imposes no waiting period between the time of purchase and the actual physical transfer of a firearm.

See our Waiting Periods policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Registration of Firearms in Pennsylvania

Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2015

Under Pennsylvania law, firearm dealers must provide a record of the sale of handguns and certain other firearms to the Firearms Division of the Pennsylvania State Police (“PSP”), which maintains a permanent database of handgun sales.1 However, this database does not constitute a registry of gun ownership, and PSP maintains no record of long gun sales.2 Pennsylvania law specifically prevents any provision of its law from allowing any government or law enforcement agency to create a registry of firearm ownership.3 State law also requires PSP to destroy any application or record of sale of a long gun within 72 hours of the background check.4

In Allegheny County Sportsmen’s League v. Rendell, 860 A.2d 10 (Pa. 2004), the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania interpreted these provisions to permit PSP to maintain a database of the purchasers of handguns, but not of long guns.5

In addition, Pennsylvania’s law regarding domestic violence contains a similar provision, stating that it does not allow any person or entity to create a registry of firearm ownership, although information may be retained to ensure compliance with these statutes and to document the return of firearms to persons no longer subject to protective orders.6 Such information is not subject to public disclosure.

See the section entitled Retention of Sales / Background Check Records in Pennsylvania for further information about sales reporting requirements.

See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111(b). []
  2. Allegheny County Sportsmen’s League v. Rendell, 860 A.2d 10, 16 (Pa. 2004). []
  3. Pursuant to 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111.4, “nothing in this chapter shall be construed to allow any government or law enforcement agency or any agent thereof to create, maintain or operate any registry of firearm ownership” within Pennsylvania. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111(b)(1.1)(v), relating to background checks for firearm transfers, provides that “no information on the application/record of sale provided pursuant to this subsection shall be retained as precluded by section 6111.4…by the Pennsylvania State Police either through retention of the application/record of sale or by entering the information onto a computer.” []
  4. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111(b)(1.1)(v). []
  5. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111(b)(1.1)(v)’s requirement that applications and records of sale of long guns be destroyed within 72 hours does not apply to applications and records of sale of handguns. Rendell, 860 A.2d at 18. The database maintained by the PSP did not constitute a registry of firearm ownership because it only contained applications and records of sale. Id. at 22. []
  6. 23 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6108.4 states that nothing in 23 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §§ 6101-6122 (regarding domestic violence) shall be construed to allow any person or entity to create, maintain or operate a database or registry of firearm ownership. []

Other Location Restrictions in Pennsylvania

Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2015

Pennsylvania prohibits any person, even the holder of a license to carry a firearm, from knowingly possessing a firearm in a court facility or knowingly causing a firearm to be present in a court facility, with certain limited exceptions.1

Pennsylvania has no laws prohibiting firearms in the following places, although administrative regulations may apply:

  • Bars and other places where alcoholic beverages are sold or served;
  • Places of worship;
  • Sports arenas;
  • Gambling facilities; or
  • Polling places.
  1. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 913. []

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. []