If you want to carry a concealed weapon in Pennsylvania, you must have a license to carry firearms issued by Pennsylvania or an out-of-state permit accepted by Pennsylvania. Title 18 § 6106 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes makes it a third-degree felony to carry a concealed weapon without the proper permit.
In most Pennsylvania counties, the county sheriff administers the licensing process. The exception is Philadelphia, where the Gun Permits and Tracking Unit — a division of the Philadelphia Police Department — handles the process. When you are ready to apply for your license, take your state-issued photo ID card or driver’s license to your county sheriff’s office. Fill out the required application and pay the fee, which is $26 in most counties as of June 2011. You also need to provide names and contact information for two references. Once you complete the application, the sheriff completes a background check to determine if you qualify for the license. If you pass the background check, you will receive your license in anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks, depending on the sheriff.
In the past, Pennsylvania would issue permits to out-of-state visitors by mail. As of March 2011, the state no longer allows this. You must visit Pennsylvania and apply for the license in person. When you are ready to apply, take a copy of the concealed carry permit issued by your state to a county sheriff’s office. You must provide two references and pay the $26 fee just as a Pennsylvania resident would. Chester, Columbia, Mifflin, Tioga, Washington, Clinton, Greene, Montgomery and Union counties do not issue nonresident permits, so you must apply for the permit elsewhere in Pennsylvania.
Twenty-five states recognize Pennsylvania concealed carry permits as valid. This means someone from Pennsylvania can carry concealed firearms in those states, provided she has a valid license. Some states do not honor Pennsylvania concealed carry permits. They include Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California, Maine, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Ohio, South Carolina, Alabama, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Iowa and Kansas. Even if you have a valid Pennsylvania license to carry a firearm, you cannot carry one in these states.
A valid license to carry firearms gives you the right to carry a weapon concealed in your car or on your person, with a few notable exceptions. Title 18 § 913 makes it a crime to possess a firearm in a court facility. Section 912 prohibits the possession of firearms on the grounds of an elementary or secondary school. State law also prohibits the possession of firearms in detention centers and casinos.