In preparation for the 2011 NRA Convention, here's a quick primer on Pennsylvania's carry laws.
*** DISCLAIMER ***
I AM NOT A LAWYER - did you see that? I AM NOT A LAWYER. While this is my understanding of the rules, it's on the internets and should therefore be considered suspect!
*** DISCLAIMER ***
A good reference for most of the questions: the website for the Attorney General
Pennsylvania has written reciprocity agreements
with 17 states:
Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming
Pennsylvania has statutory reciprocity agreements
with 7 states:
Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Montana, North Dakota, Utah
If you have a permit, resident or non-resident, from one of the 24 states listed above then you can carry openly or concealed almost anywhere in the state.
*** NOTE: Starting in 2011, non-resident permits will require a trip to the Sheriff's office to have a photograph taken. Mail-in applications will no longer be available. So, if you need a permit, best get started on it now! ***
* General Restrictions
Carrying a firearm is prohibited in the following places, regardless of method of carry:
- anywhere that is covered by Federal restrictions (post offices, secure areas of airports, etc)
- courthouses - each courthouse is required by law to provide a way to securely store firearms while you are inside, but not all courthouses abide by this rule (go figure...)
- schools - this is a grey area as the law allows for an exception for "other lawful purposes" - if you want to be the test case, I'll buy you a beer!
*** UPDATE ***
- casinos - there is some debate on whether it's actually illegal, or just "prohibited". So, like schools, use your discretion if you go to the casino.
* Open Carry
OC is 'technically' legal everywhere in PA without a permit, with three exceptions:
- Philadelphia - need a carry permit from one of the 24 states listed above to carry openly in Philadelphia
- Vehicles - need a carry permit from ANY state to carry openly or concealed in a vehicle
- State parks - open carry is prohibited in state parks in PA
* Vehicle Carry
A person with a valid carry permit from ANY state can carry in a vehicle. There are no requirements on how the firearm must be carried.
If you do not have a carry permit, you can only carry the firearm to/from your place of residence and a shooting activity or firearm dealer.
* Concealed Carry
If you have a permit from one of the 24 states listed above, concealed carry is legal throughout the state.
- Signs carry no legal weight in Pennsylvania
- Bars/restaurants/places that serve alcohol are NOT prohibited
- As far as I've found, there is no law against carrying while intoxicated. However, don't be the asshole that does this...I'm sure the cops would try to charge you with something else
- While open carry may be legal, many cops are ignorant (sometimes willfully) of the law and, especially in urban areas like Pittsburgh, you will probably be hassled and possibly arrested
- In Pittsburgh, Point State Park, the park where the three rivers meet, is a state park so open carry is not allowed there