State Law Background
Among other things, Pennsylvania:
- Requires a background check prior to the unlicensed sale of a handgun;
- Conducts its own background checks when licensed dealers sell firearms;
- Requires firearm dealers to obtain a state license;
- Prohibits straw purchases, a common source of illegally trafficked firearms, and has a “Straw Purchaser Education Program”;
- Maintains a state database of information regarding the sale handguns and certain other types of firearms;
- Requires licensed dealers to include locking devices when transferring handguns or short-barreled rifles or shotguns.
However, Pennsylvania does not:
- Require a background check when an unlicensed person sells a rifle or shotgun;
- Require gun owners to report if their guns are lost or stolen;
- Allow courts to issue protective orders to prevent dangerous people other than domestic abusers from having access to guns;
- Have laws to prevent children or other unauthorized people from having easy access to unlocked firearms;
- Allow local governments to regulate firearms or ammunition;
- Prohibit the transfer or possession of assault weapons, 50 caliber rifles or large capacity ammunition magazines;
- Require firearm owners to obtain a license;
- Require the registration of firearms;
- Regulate ammunition sales; or
- Provide local law enforcement with discretion to deny a license to carry firearms.
In 2017, Pennsylvania had the 25th lowest gun death rate among the states. Pennsylvania supplied crime guns to other states at a similar rate to the national average. Pennsylvania also exported more crime guns than it imported.
Pennsylvania Firearms Laws
For details about specific firearms laws in Pennsylvania, choose a topic below, or see all of the firearms laws in this state.