Getting a Permit to Carry a Concealed Weapon in Pennsylvania

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

The one way that Pennsylvania makes it easy to be approved for a concealed weapon permit is that it is a shall issue state. This means the state must prove that you are disqualified from owning a gun based on state law. If the state cannot prove that you should not have a permit, they must approve the application.

Concealed weapon applications are available online at your county's website. You can print it out, complete it, and bring it to your county sheriff's office. If your county does not have the application online, you can go to your sheriff's office and complete it there. You must apply in the county where you live.

Items to bring with you include a passport type photo and a valid Pennsylvania driver's license. Another proof of identity and address is also required. Examples include utility bills, bank or credit card statements, or vehicle registration card. Look on the application or call your county to see how much the application fee is and what methods of payment they accept so that you can bring the payment with you. Applicants must bring a copy of their local 1% earned income tax document. Submit information for two references that can vouch for your character and ability to handle a gun.

In order to qualify to carry a weapon you must be 21 years old. People who have been convicted of certain crimes are not eligible to carry a concealed weapon. Those convicted of breaking the federal Controlled Substance, Drug, Device, and Cosmetic Act will be declined. Those convicted of assault, rape, and murder charges will not be eligible for a concealed weapon permit. You can check the state statues at http://reference.pafoa.org/statutes/ for a complete list of what will disqualify individuals from carrying a concealed weapon. The county will do a background check.

State law dictates that the sheriff's office shall notify you in writing within 45 days whether you have been approved or denied. If approved, you need to go down to the sheriff's office and pick up your permit. Permits are valid for five years. The renewal process is the same as when you first apply. Generally you can renew your license 60 days before it expires.

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