NOTE: Links to some laws have broken recently, we are working on them.
NOTE: THIS LISTING MAY BE PARTIAL, POSSIBLY MISSING LOCATIONS THAT ARE OFF-LIMITS BY LAW OR REGULATION. THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE, FOR THAT CONTACT AN ATTORNEY. THIS WEBSITE AND ITS MEMBERS ASSUMES NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR MISSING OR FAILING TO LIST AN OFF-LIMITS PLACE. WE DO THIS AS A PUBLIC SERVICE TO ASSIST THOSE WHO WISH TO LAWFULLY CARRY. IF YOU KNOW OF ANY PLACES OFF-LIMITS BY LAW OR REGULATION THAT WE FAILED TO LIST, PLEASE POST THEM IN THIS THREAD WITH A COPY OF THE LEGAL TEXT.
It is often asked where is it legal or illegal to carry in PA. Below is a guide to where and how you can lawfully carry.
The purpose of a PA LTCF issued under 6109 is to provide an exemption to the prohibition of carrying concealed on or abouts one's person, or in a vehicle, under 6106. It also allows you to carry any type of firearm(long guns and handguns) during a state of emergency. The license also provides for the privilege of carrying openly or concealed on the streets in a City of the First Class(Philly).
Off-limits places in PA and what makes them off-limits:
1. Court Facilities - PA Title 18, Chapter 9, Subsection 913
2a.*Grounds and buildings of Elementary and Secondary schools(K-12 grades), whether the school is private or public. There is an affirmative defense for "other lawful purposes" however there is no case law determining on what that includes. To be safe, its wiser to assume it does not include our carrying "rights". - PA Title 18, Chapter 9, Subchapter 912 .
2b. Within 1000ft of a school unless you have a license/permit issued by the state in which the school is located - US Title 18, Part I, Chapter 44, Subsection 922(q)
3. Certain Department of State buildings - by regulation
4. ****Places off-limits by Federal Law or regulation, IE: military installations(exceptions for hunting at some bases), Federal Government buildings, after the security check point in airports,etc.
5. Any private property where a landowner, tenant or person so authorized to maintain property has asked you to leave because you are carrying, or where the property owner or tenant has placed signs or placards denoting that guns are forbidden - Title 18, Chapter 35, Subsection 3503
6. Detention facilities, correctional institutes, or mental hospitals - Title 18, Chapter 51, Subsection 5122
If you do not see the place in question in the list above - then its NOT off-limits in Pennsylvania. Yes, you may legally carry in a bar, tavern, club, or church in PA.
Concealed Carry is legal in State Parks if you have a LTCF. 18 6109 (m.3) should nullify the Open Carry regulation, however that has yet to be determined.
Off-limits places apply just the same for open as they do concealed.
*Colleges are not prohibited by law, however the college could levy their own infractions like expelling the person or other civil punishments.
****The Federal Parks and Reserves are legal again. New law went into effect 02/22/10. Federal buildings in Fed. Parks and Reserves are still off-limits. While in a Federal Park, you follow the laws of the state in which it is located.
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Openly or concealed does NOT matter to vehicles, nor does its loaded or unloaded status, only the fact that there is a "firearm"(handgun, SBS, SBR) in, on, or upon a vehicle. Any device that is used to transport people is a vehicle. Yes, that includes horses, bicycles, motorcycles, boats, trains, airplanes, cars, trucks, trolleys, etc, etc. YOU NEED A LICENSE TO TRANSPORT A HANDGUN IN, ON, OR UPON A VEHICLE UNLESS YOU ARE GOING TO/FROM ONE OF THE EXEMPTED LOCATIONS IN 18.61.6106.(B). ************* Without a license you cannot transport an unloaded "firearm" in a vehicle just for the mere practice of open carry.
Before you ask, long guns cannot be carried or transported loaded in a vehicle - whether you are licensed or not. Unloaded long guns may be transported throughout the state without a license, except in a City of the First Class(Philly) or during a declared state of emergency - which those two situations require a LTCF. Loaded magazines must be in a separate container, loose or boxed ammo can be anywhere near the gun.
Private Properties, land owner and tenant rights prevail above all:
1. If the land/facility isn't owned by a municipality, township, county, state or fed government - then it is private property. In fact, even many properties maintained by a municipality of any level in PA is still private property - but the municipality has a lease or right-of-way. Most parcels are surveyed from the center of the road in front of your land or another common marker as a starting point.
2. Malls, stores, movie theaters, restaurants, bars, etc are private property - they may ask you to leave if you are carrying a firearm, or the may ask you to leave if you aren't carrying a gun, they may ask you to leave because you weren't wearing a pink tutu with a tactical thigh holster, they may ask you to leave for ANY reason and you must comply.
3. Just because persons may come and go in a place as they please, doesn't make it "public" property. What makes property "public" or "private" is whether the land/real-estate is owned by an individual/company/corporation(private) or by the people as a whole(public).
4. Unless you have an Allodial Title, you do not own your land - you lease it from the government by means of property taxes and hold rights by a deed, which is "color of title", not true title and patent of lands and real properties. The oldest 14 or 15 States are patent holders for their lands within. The federal government is patent holder for the remainings states and territories, except for properties sold out of Federal management(BLM of Dept Interior) and for titles & patents to some properties that were in place issued by another country prior to the land becoming a state.
5. To sum things up, your land is actually public property that is leased by means of taxes in the Fee Simple/Feudal Title system allowing you to claim it as private(Color of Title). The government then requires right-of-ways from you for roads or other easements. Landowners and tenants may deny carrying on their properties, which you should respect if you care for others to respect your property rights.
Drawing to help you understand property lines and Right-of-Way's.
No Guns types signs on private property: delinquentes caveo
These type of signs lack a direct violation to places being off-limits. However they do set a conditional permission to be on the property. Violation of that condition is trespassing instantly. Such signs serve as first notice to a summary trespassing violation and you can be cited without a verbal warning. Now we all like to carry where ever we can, but we also want our property rights to be held in sanctity, to have our own land and building sanctity we must honor other's property rights as well. If found to be carrying you can be cited on the spot for a summary offense. Which to follow that you will most likely be asked to leave, if you fail to do so you will be arrested on a misdemeanor offense.
If you can own a firearm, you may lawfully openly carry it on foot without a license. The exception to this is in a City of the First Class (1 million residents), you are required to have a license to Open Carry. Philly is the ONLY First Class city in PA, the next largest city, Pittsburgh, is about 550,000 residents away from being one.
You also need a LTCF to open carry in a vehicle, and to carry any gun during a declared state of emergency.
Carrying or transporting of guns other than "firearms" - long guns :
A "Firearm" is defined as a Pistol or Revolver with a barrel less than 15", a rifle with a barrel less than 16", a shotgun with a barrel less than 18", or a rifle or shotgun with an overall length less than 26". For guns that have dimensions that exceed those measurements no license or permit is needed to carry them openly, concealed, or in a vehicle - EXCEPT, you must have a LTCF to carry (openly or concealed) on the streets of a City of the First Class(Philly), or during a declared emergency. Note that at NO time can a person have a loaded long gun in, on, or upon a vehicle - except disabled hunters as exempted under Title 34 Game Laws. It doesn't matter if you have a LTCF or not. Only "firearms" are allowed to be loaded in, on, or upon a vehicle(except disabled hunters).
See definition of "loaded".
For "antique guns", the same requirements apply for carrying and transporting as if they were modern guns. You would need a LTCF to conceal or transport a "antique gun" that fits the measurements of a "firearm". Also, no loaded "antique" long guns in a vehicle."Loaded." A firearm is loaded if the firing chamber, the nondetachable magazine or in the case of a revolver, any of the chambers of the cylinder contain ammunition capable of being fired. In the case of a firearm which utilizes a detachable magazine, the term shall mean a magazine suitable for use in said firearm which magazine contains such ammunition and has been inserted in the firearm or is in the same container or, where the container has multiple compartments, the same compartment thereof as the firearm.
Ages to purchase or own a firearm:
Handguns, Pistols, Revolvers:
1. 21 to buy one from a FFL
2a. 18 if given or purchasing one from a spouse, parent or grandparent. No paperwork necessary
2b. 18 if given or purchasing from any other person who lawfully owns the handgun, BUT it must be transfered through a SHERIFF. FFL's can only use the instant background check for firearms that they have listed in their bound books - and for you to receive it from the FFL you must be 21. Since Sheriffs aren't required to do such - they may use the instant check required by PA law to do the transfer.**
Rifles and Shotguns:
1. 18 to buy from a FFL.
**See ATF Open Letter Below:
REVISION COMING SOON TO REFLECT THE NEW LAW ON USE OF FORCE
Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground in PA:
Castle Doctrine - one's home(and place of work in PA): PA does have probably 90% of full blown Castle Doctrine as coded statute, and practices it in common law. You have no duty to retreat from your home or place of work, unless you were the initial aggressor and/or the other person has a lawful right to be there as well. The only thing that PA lacks with true "Castle Doctrine" is the assumption that the person unlawfully entering your home is doing so to do harm. You must believe that you are at immediate risk of serious bodily injury, death, rape or kidnapping before using deadly force. However, there is a provision under the Protection of Property section of law to stop unlawful entries if a felony is committed within a dwelling. And also a PA Supreme Court ruling stating deadly force may be used if all attempts to effect an arrest for a forcible type felony fail(Commonwealth v. Chermansky 1968, reaffirmed in Kopko v. Miller 2005).
As of August 29, 2011 an unlawful entry into your home or occupied vehicle now bears presumption that the intruder is there to cause harm.
Stand Your Ground - anywhere else in PA: PA lacks this type of provision allowing you to meet force with force anywhere. However, PA does grant one's place of work as a extension to the Castle Doctrine. Any place else you must retreat if you can do so "in complete safety" before using force. If you cannot retreat with complete safety, or are faced with immediate deadly force, risk of serious bodily injury, rape, or kidnapping - you may use deadly force to protect yourself.
As of August 29, 2011 you no longer have a duty to retreat from any place you are lawfully present. You may meet force with force if you believe you are facing death, serious bodily injury, rape, or kidnapping so long as you aren't in the commission of a crime.
Protection of Others: You may use force to protect another if they are in the same situation as you would be required to be in before using deadly force as described in the Stand Your Ground section above. Sort of a "in their shoes" type provision.
Civil Liabilities: This is usually added on with "Stand Your Ground" provisions. PA lacks such protections in our laws and you may face civil lawsuits even if the use of force is justified.
As of August 29, 2011 civil action may still be brought against you. However a justified use of deadly force is a defense in a lawsuit and all costs are recoverable upon a win.
Dog Attacks: It is legal to kill a dog that is pursuing or attacking a pet, a domesticated animal, or human. - Title 3, Chapter 8, Article V, Subsection 459-501. It is also legal to kill any dog that is chasing or attacking big game(turkey, bear, elk, deer) - Title 34, Chapter 23, Subchapter E, Section 2385