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No license is required to possess rifles and shotguns, or to possess handguns in one’s home or place of business. It is unlawful for the following to possess a firearm:

  • persons convicted of a crime of violence;
  • fugitives, or person convicted of a controlled substance offense punishable by more than 2 years,
  • persons adjudicated mentally incompetent or involuntarily committed to a mental institution, illegal aliens, persons adjudicated as a delinquent for an offense that would disqualify one from possessing a firearm if committed by an adult, or
    persons subject to a protection from abuse (PFA) court order that prohibits possession of a firearm. It is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by 5 years in jail and up to a $10, 000 fine if a person subject to a PFA does not relinquish all firearms. Additionally, a person subject to a PFA may not receive firearms and any person who knowingly transfers to an individual under a PFA may face the same penalties as stated above.
  • a person under 18 to possess a handgun. This does not apply to a minor who is under the supervision of a parent, grandparent, legal guardian or adult acting with the consent of the minor’s custodial parent or legal guardian, when the minor is engaged in lawful activity including training, target shooting or competition, or the firearm is unloaded and the minor is transporting it for lawful purpose or a person under the age of 18 who is lawfully hunting or trapping in accordance with the Pennsylvania Game Code.


It is unlawful to possess any firearm:

  • on school property but it shall be a defense that the weapon is possessed and used in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity or course or is possessed for other lawful purpose;
  • in a court facility. At or within the building containing a court facility, lockers or similar facilities shall be available by July 1, 2002, at no charge, for the temporary checking of firearms by persons lawfully carrying same. A receipt must be issued to the individual checking a firearm.
  • upon the public streets or upon any public property during an emergency proclaimed by a governmental executive unless the person carrying is actively engaged in lawful self defense, is licensed to carry firearms, or is exempt from licensing requirements.
  • upon the public streets or upon any public property in Philadelphia unless the person carrying is licensed to carry firearms...

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