Frequently Asked Questions

The following examples reflect situations where there are no requirements to submit any information regarding firearms:

  • Transfer of handguns between some family members: husband/wife, parent/child and grandparent/grandchild.

  • Transfer of long guns between private individuals who reside in Pennsylvania.

  • Any hand guns or long guns legally owned by individuals moving to Pennsylvania.

  1. Do I need a permit before I buy a firearm?


  2. How do I buy or sell a firearm on the internet?

    For simplicity, the best way to buy or sell a firearm is to have it shipped from one licensed federal firearm dealer to another licensed federal firearm dealer. This procedure will comply with all local, state and federal laws.

  3. If I possess a valid license to carry a firearm, am I required to undergo a Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) background check to purchase a firearm?


  4. When traveling on a vacation or trip, can I take a firearm with me in my vehicle?

    Possibly. Depending on the states that you are traveling to and through the laws can be quite divergent from the laws in your state. The best answer would be to check the laws of each state or jurisdiction before you go.

  5. What do I need to do if I want to sell or give a firearm away to a friend?

    You should go to a licensed firearm dealer who will do a Pennsylvania Instant Check on the intended recipient of the firearm to determine their eligibility.

  6. Can I ship a firearm back to the factory for repairs?

    It is advised that your local licensed federal firearm dealer handle the shipping for you.

  7. What does a concealed carry permit let me do?

    It permits an individual to carry a firearm concealed on or about his/her person or in a vehicle throughout Pennsylvania.

  8. Do I need a license to possess a firearm in my home or business?


  9. If I am a prohibited person, can I have someone buy a firearm for me?

    No, this would be considered a straw purchase and all parties involved would have committed a crime.

  10. What books or sources of information are available so that I can make the right decisions about carrying my firearms?

    Refer to the references at the bottom of this page.

  11. How do I transport a firearm without a carry permit?

    Generally, for transportation within Pennsylvania, firearms should be unloaded and in a locked container unless carrying a handgun pursuant to a license to carry a firearm. Contact your state representative or local law enforcement official for further details.

  12. Does my concealed carry permit allow me to carry a firearm in a courthouse, post office or federal building?


  13. Is it legal for me to carry a firearm on school property?


  14. If I have a criminal record from years ago, and I have not committed a prohibited offense since then, is it possible that I may not be able to purchase a firearm or obtain a carry permit?

    Yes. Unless you have received a pardon and had your record expunged OR have received restoration of your right to possess firearms (limited restoration for offenses through the court of common pleas), you may be prohibited from possessing firearms. It is recommended that you seek the assistance of an attorney to determine your status.

  15. What if I own a firearm and I am convicted of a crime which prohibits me from possessing firearms?

    Under STATE law, depending upon the nature of the firearm disability, you may have up to 60 days from the date of the imposition of any disability (such as a conviction) to sell or transfer any firearms to a person who does not live with you. For other disabilities, such as those imposed pursuant to a protection from abuse order, you may only have 24 hours. In addition, there may be other considerations under federal law, so it is recommended you seek the assistance of a private attorney.

  16. What types of identification do I need to purchase a firearm?

    Dealers may accept any one of the following documents as identification:

    • Valid photo drivers license or ID card

    • Valid government-issued photo ID card

  17. Where do I obtain a concealed carry permit?

    At the sheriff’s office of the country where you reside. In Philadelphia, a permit is obtained from the Chief of Police.

  18. Where do I obtain a sportsmen’s permit (for hunting and fishing)?

    At the county treasurer’s office in the county where you reside.

  19. What would prohibit me from lawfully possessing or purchasing a firearm?

    There are 37 crimes for which a conviction would prohibit a person from lawfully purchasing or possessing a firearm under the Uniform Firearms Act. There are also 9 conditions which would result in a firearm disability. Additionally, one condition (3 convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance, within a 5-year period) prohibits subsequent purchase or receipt by transfer, but not possession of firearms already owned. Finally, federal law imposes additional restrictions on firearm ownership due to criminal convictions. If you have a question, it is recommended you seek the assistance of a private attorney.

  20. Where can I find the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act?

    Refer to Title 18, Chapter 61 of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code.


Additional Reference Materials for Firearm Law Questions

  • Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States. Written by: J. Scott Kapas, Esq.

  • Gun Laws of America. Written by: Alan Korwin

  • Guns, Crime, and Freedom. Written by: Wayne LaPierre

  • Your State Firearms Laws. Written by: Ronald W. Rossi, Sheriff

  • Information for Pennsylvania Firearm Purchasers & Basic Firearm Safety. Written by: the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Records and Identification Firearms Division SP 4-135 (4-2003)

  • Firearms Division Firearms Dealer’s Newsletter

  • Pennsylvania Crimes Code & Vehicle Law Handbook

  • Pennsylvania Firearms Laws Distributed by the Office of your State Representative

  • ATF Form 4473 (5300.9) Part 1

  • Title 18, Chapter 61 of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code