Traveling State Spotlight: Pennsylvania

The following is a video transcript.

So you’re coming to the Keystone State. Welcome to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. There are some things that you have to understand and know about our gun laws before you come here, so you avoid becoming an accidental criminal.


Pennsylvania has reciprocity with a lot of different states. What we mean by “reciprocity” is that your License to Carry, or LTC (whatever it may be called in your state) is recognized as if you had our Pennsylvania License to Carry with its obligations, its duties, its rights, and its privileges.

The first step that I would suggest that you do is call U.S. LawShield. Say, “Hey, I’m a member of this state. I need to know whether or not Pennsylvania recognizes my state’s license.”

Open Carry

Pennsylvania is an open carry state. We have been an open carry state for a long time, with the exception of one place: Philadelphia. There is a law in Pennsylvania that pertains to Cities of the First Class—defined as having populations over one million people. Our only city that has over one million people is Philadelphia.

Handguns in Vehicles

You cannot have a modern handgun—meaning a pistol—loaded inside your car unless you have reciprocity (in which case it is perfectly fine).

There are several different exceptions:

  1. If you’re going to or from a gun store, or FFL;
  2. If you’re going to or from a residence;
  3. If you’re going to or from a place of business; or
  4. If you’re going to or from a firing range.

Those are the big exceptions because, in order to have a firearm inside an automobile in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, you need to have a weapons carry permit from a state Pennsylvania has reciprocity with.

“No Gun” Signs

A big question that we get is in regard to “No Gun” signs. They have absolutely no force of law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. What it does do is provide you with limited notice that the owner—or the rentee—does not like firearms. You should consider whether or not you want to do business in a place like that. The simple act of entering those premises where you see a “No Gun” sign does not make you a trespasser, invalidate your license to carry a firearm, or make your Pennsylvania-recognized license illegal.

They can ask you to leave for any—or no— reason whatsoever; in which case, you have to comply or you will face the consequences that go with that, regardless of whether or not you have a firearm.

Prohibited Locations

  • Federal Property: There are traditional federal locations, such as post offices and federal buildings. In federal parks, any building may be included—potentially even outhouses.
  • Private and Public Schools (K-12): We highly advise against carrying near K-12 private or public schools. The law is a little unsettled, but we do not want you—a visitor from out-of-state—to be the test case.
  • Courthouses: Every courthouse that seeks to disarm you has to have a secure lock box.
  • Mental Health Facilities: In locked mental health wards, you are prohibited from carrying your firearm.

Firearms and Alcohol

You can drink while you have your firearm on you. Although we do not recommend this, you can even become intoxicated with your firearm on you.

These are some quick guidelines for you to consider before you come to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Please note I am only licensed in Pennsylvania, so this only applies to Pennsylvania. If you have any other questions about traveling around the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to an Independent Program Attorney for Pennsylvania.

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