Is it legal to open carry in PA without a permit?


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slash415
May 20, 2014, 09:43 PM
I will be taking a trip up to PA next week. I am from TN, I just turned 21, took the safety course to get my permit and am waiting for my permit in the mail. The other day I was looking up PA gun laws, they state ( from my understanding) that you HAVE to have a permit to CONCEL CARRY, but DO NOT have to have a permit to OPEN CARRY. This seems rather strange to me, but I found the info from http://www.pafoa.org/law.

Can anyone provide some insight on this?

Thanks

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vamo
May 20, 2014, 09:58 PM
I don't know specifically about PA law but that is actually pretty common. Most prohibitions against conceal carry were enacted when open carry was still common. Open carry went out of fashion, but many states did not bother prohibiting it.

One thing to beware of just because its legal to walk around open carrying in public does not necessarily mean it will be legal to have a readily accessible loaded gun in the car.

Sam1911
May 20, 2014, 10:07 PM
It is perfectly legal to open carry here in PA without a permit, EXCEPT:

1) Anywhere you can't carry a firearm (e.g.: courthouses, jails, and arguably schools).
2) IN A CAR. Being in a vehicle is considered carrying a concealed weapon.
3) In Philly. Gotta have your LCTF to carry open in Philly.

tkaction
May 20, 2014, 10:14 PM
yes it is legal but it is not common even in the remote regions( i am in Potter county)
Philly is off limits unless you have a pa license. Most people are not aware but Pa has a very liberal concesled carry permit(almost everywhere including churches bars and banks). But we are still northeast America and most people look at you crosseyed if you flash a gun. Standing in a Sheetz parking lot inspecting a rifle is the exception around here...it is quite common but open carry outside of hunting season is uncommon.

tkaction
May 20, 2014, 10:16 PM
you cannot have a loaded weapon in a car unless you have a PA license. You can never have a loaded rifle in a car. It is a game and wespon violation.

NavyLCDR
May 20, 2014, 10:17 PM
http://www.handgunlaw.us/states/pennsylvania.pdf

The way I read it, you can open carry outside your vehicle in PA without a license, except in Philadelphia. Inside a vehicle it looks like the firearm must be unloaded and in a locked exterior compartment of the vehicle or in a locked case.

Also, you probably want to be mindful of this definition of loaded in PA law:

"Loaded." A firearm is loaded if the firing chamber, the
nondetachable magazine or, in the case of a revolver, any of
the chambers of the cylinder contain ammunition capable of being
fired. In the case of a firearm which utilizes a detachable
magazine, the term shall mean a magazine suitable for use in
said firearm which magazine contains such ammunition and has
been inserted in the firearm or is in the same container or,
where the container has multiple compartments, the same
compartment thereof as the firearm. If the magazine is inserted
into a pouch, holder, holster or other protective device that
provides for a complete and secure enclosure of the ammunition,
then the pouch, holder, holster or other protective device shall
be deemed to be a separate compartment.

tkaction
May 20, 2014, 10:19 PM
Sorry Sam.. I was typing while you were answering...

Steve in PA
May 21, 2014, 08:26 AM
Nothing requires anything to be locked in any type of container or any exterior compartment.

And, without a PA license to carry, the places you want to transport an unloaded firearm is very limited. Just because the firearm is unloaded, does not mean you can drive all over town with it.

Ranger Roberts
May 21, 2014, 08:59 AM
It is perfectly legal to open carry here in PA without a permit, EXCEPT:

1) Anywhere you can't carry a firearm (e.g.: courthouses, jails, and arguably schools).
2) IN A CAR. Being in a vehicle is considered carrying a concealed weapon.
3) In Philly. Gotta have your LCTF to carry open in Philly.

Sam hit the nail on the head. I just want to give you a heads up though, not all jurisdictions are friendly to open carry. In rural areas you probably will not have a problem, but in urban environments you probably will. I am a LEO in a rural area outside of Reading PA. Reading is not a great area as far as crime goes. Because of my proximity to Reading and the nature of police work, I spend a good bit of time in the city working with their police officers.

****Before anyone gets upset with me, I am not saying I condone their actions****

But if a LEO in Reading sees you open carrying, you are going to get stopped. Usually they will give you a rash of crap for it. They will threaten to ticket you for a bunch a silly reasons (disturbance offenses etc).

Again, I am not saying I agree with them, I just want to give you a heads up. If you are in rural areas, I really doubt anyone would give you a hard time.

Joe Demko
May 21, 2014, 09:43 AM
Don't be too confident in the rural areas, either. Open carry is legal, but not common. The locals aren't used to seeing anybody open carrying, especially strangers. They may well alert the local law. Many of the smaller towns are policed by small forces consisting entirely of part-timers. Their level of training is not uniformly high, let's say. Overall, it will not be an enjoyable experience for anybody involved.

NavyLCDR
May 21, 2014, 12:00 PM
Nothing requires anything to be locked in any type of container or any exterior compartment.

And, without a PA license to carry, the places you want to transport an unloaded firearm is very limited. Just because the firearm is unloaded, does not mean you can drive all over town with it.

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/PDF/18/18.PDF

§ 6106. Firearms not to be carried without a license.

(b) Exceptions.--The provisions of subsection (a) shall not
apply to:

(14) A person lawfully engaged in the interstate
transportation of a firearm as defined under 18 U.S.C. §
921(a)(3) (relating to definitions) in compliance with 18
U.S.C. § 926A (relating to interstate transportation of
firearms).

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/926A

18 U.S. Code § 926A - Interstate transportation of firearms

Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule or regulation of a State or any political subdivision thereof, any person who is not otherwise prohibited by this chapter from transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be entitled to transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm if, during such transportation the firearm is unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle: Provided, That in the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver’s compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.

RustyShackelford
May 21, 2014, 03:48 PM
If you travel often Id suggest buying a 2014 www.gunlawguide.com .
It's a listing of state/city/US territory gun-use of force laws.

Handgunlaw.us www.handgunlaw.us is useful too. note; PA does allow carry of weapons on college campus areas(unlike a few states). Schools or public offices may have restrictions too.

Steve in PA
May 21, 2014, 04:40 PM
The Interstate Transportation requirement is for travelling from state to state, not for a resident to transport within the state.

Steve in PA
May 21, 2014, 04:49 PM
As for the comment about Reading, every single officer in PA received training that open carry is legal in PA. If someone gets "confronted" because they are carrying openly, the officer could be subject to a criminal charge of official oppression.

Here is a snippet from the 2009 notice given to officers;

If an officer can develop reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot, by a person engaged in open carry, then the temporary seizure of the person and confiscation of the firearm would be justified, because the person is known to be armed and dangerous based on the suspected criminal activity and visible possession of a firearm. A further frisk would also be warranted to ensure the person was not in possession of any other weapons. If the officer’s investigatory detention leads to probable cause, then the person may be placed under arrest for the crime that has been committed. However, if the officer’s suspicion is allayed then any seized firearms must be returned to the citizen and the citizen must be released from the investigatory detention. A firearm may be seized from a person who the officer knows to be prohibited from possessing a firearm under State or Federal law.

Officers should be aware that citizens may become alarmed or concerned when they witness persons engaged in open carry. This may be due in part to individual sensibilities regarding firearms and the fact that persons engaged in open carry are infrequently encountered in Pennsylvania. However, a citizen’s alarm or concern does not alone negatively impact the rights of a person engaging in the lawful open carrying of a firearm. Officers receiving citizen reports of a “man with a gun” would be prudent to respond to determine the nature of the report. However, the rights of any person engaged in the lawful open carrying of a firearm must be carefully considered when interacting with such person. Persons engaged in the lawful open carrying of a firearm are not subject to seizure of their person or property based solely on the fact that they are engaging in open carry, nor may they be required to produce identification or other documents. A person who is engaging in open carry in Philadelphia or in an area of declared emergency may be required to produce a valid and lawfully issued license to carry a firearm or establish an exemption. Of course, a person engaged in the open carrying of a firearm may engage in violations of other laws or handle the firearm in an inappropriate manner which could constitute offenses such as: disorderly conduct, reckless endangerment, simple assault by physical menace, etc. However, merely engaging in the open carrying of a firearm would not necessarily constitute such an offense.

An officer who observes a person who is engaged in the open carrying of a firearm in the vicinity of a public event attended by the President or other persons under the protection of the Secret Service must consider whether any violation of Pennsylvania law is occurring, If there is not a clear violation of the law, it would be prudent to bring the presence of this person to the attention of the Secret Service who is empowered under various federal statutes to regulate the possession of firearms in the vicinity of persons under Secret Service protection.

BullfrogKen
May 21, 2014, 05:12 PM
Sam hit all the high points, and Steve mentioned -

And, without a PA license to carry, the places you want to transport an unloaded firearm is very limited. Just because the firearm is unloaded, does not mean you can drive all over town with it.


Pay special attention to that one.


What no one else covered was that during a declared state of emergency, carrying a handgun is an unlawful act without that LTCF. Even one openly carried.

Why is that important? Because in PA a declared state of emergency expires only through two actions - the Governor can either declare the SoE over, or it will sunset automatically 30 days after the conditions that caused the declaration have subsided.

State of Emergencies are usually weather-related events. We had a lot of flooding here from some massively heavy rainstorms the 1st of May. I don't know if Governor Corbett declared a SoE because of it. I was out of town when they rolled through. If he did, it'll still be in effect when you make your trip here next week.

The governor rarely issues an order declaring it over. He usually lets it sunset. The only time I saw that happen was when Hurricane Sandy rolled through. The governor declared a SoE, and later that month PA had its annual 2A rally in Harrisburg. The organizers reminded him in was still in effect a couple days before the rally, and he issued an order declaring it over so as to not have anyone run afoul of it.

NavyLCDR
May 21, 2014, 07:21 PM
The Interstate Transportation requirement is for travelling from state to state, not for a resident to transport within the state.

Really? Umm.....

I will be taking a trip up to PA next week. I am from TN,

Seems like interstate to me.

BenFoo
May 21, 2014, 09:32 PM
Really? Umm.....



Seems like interstate to me.


The interstate travel has context around it. Meaning it only is valid while traveling from Point A to Point B. If you stop even so much as to get gas or use the facilities....you could be void of its protections.

So he would be protected by it until he arrives at the destination in PA. So unless hes making one big loop of a drive.....without stopping. TN -> PA -> TN ..... This really doesnt apply.

NavyLCDR
May 21, 2014, 11:52 PM
The interstate travel has context around it. Meaning it only is valid while traveling from Point A to Point B. If you stop even so much as to get gas or use the facilities....you could be void of its protections.

So he would be protected by it until he arrives at the destination in PA. So unless hes making one big loop of a drive.....without stopping. TN -> PA -> TN ..... This really doesnt apply.
Stopping for gas, using the restroom, and eating are normal parts of interstate travel and FOPA certainly does continue to apply during the course of normal interstate travel.

It is impossible to travel across some states, such as Wyoming on I-80, without stopping for gas, unless you happen to be driving a fuel truck.

BenFoo
May 21, 2014, 11:53 PM
Stopping for gas, using the restroom, and eating are normal parts of interstate travel and FOPA certainly does continue to apply during the course of normal interstate travel.

It is impossible to travel across some states, such as Wyoming on I-80, without stopping for gas, unless you happen to be driving a fuel truck.


Good luck arguing that in NJ friend.

Red Wind
May 22, 2014, 12:04 AM
Good luck arguing that in NJ friend.

I've gone through New Jersey almost every year since the 1980's on the way to visiting Pennsylvania relatives. I've stopped for gas,which somebody else pumps :D ,used restrooms,ate at restaurants ,even stayed in a motel a time or two.

Always carrying a firearm. Nothing untoward has happened to me yet. I'll continue the practice until I can't drive anymore. :scrutiny:

Some people just worry too much. ;)

NavyLCDR
May 22, 2014, 12:09 AM
So, how about this, then, if you don't think FOPA applies. The OP is covered under this exemption in PA law:

6106. Firearms not to be carried without a license.
(b) Exceptions.--The provisions of subsection (a) shall not
apply to:
(8) Any person while carrying a firearm which is not
loaded and is in a secure wrapper from the place of purchase
to his home or place of business, or to a place of repair,
sale or appraisal or back to his home or place of business,
or in moving from one place of abode or business to another
or from his home to a vacation or recreational home or
dwelling or back, or to recover stolen property under section
6111.1(b)(4) (relating to Pennsylvania State Police), or to
a place of instruction intended to teach the safe handling,
use or maintenance of firearms or back or to a location to
which the person has been directed to relinquish firearms
under 23 Pa.C.S. § 6108 (relating to relief) or back upon
return of the relinquished firearm or to a licensed dealer's
place of business for relinquishment pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S.
§ 6108.2 (relating to relinquishment for consignment sale,
lawful transfer or safekeeping) or back upon return of the
relinquished firearm or to a location for safekeeping
pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. § 6108.3 (relating to relinquishment
to third party for safekeeping) or back upon return of the
relinquished firearm.

The OP is "any person". He is traveling from his home (which happens to be in TN - but the location of his home is not restricted in the statute), and he is traveling to a vacation or recreation dwelling in PA. At the PA border he has to stop, unload the gun, and put it in a "secure wrapper" which is extremely similar to the requirements of FOPA.

If that isn't valid, than basically what some of you are trying to say is that as soon as the OP hits the PA border, unless he is traveling directly through PA without stopping even for gas or a bathroom break, there is no legal way for him to transport a firearm to his destination in PA.

dprice3844444
May 22, 2014, 12:14 AM
leave it at home until you get the permit.

Red Wind
May 22, 2014, 12:18 AM
I should have added that I have both a Florida and Pennsylvania gun permit, but in Jersey my home state, FOPA has to apply of course.

I could skip NJ and go shorter through just as miserable Maryland ,but I like taking the Lewes to Cape May Ferry, so NJ is the route.

Red Wind
May 22, 2014, 12:21 AM
leave it at home until you get the permit.

Take it with you. You'll be fine.;)

The bottom line is the OP has to make the call.

RustyShackelford
May 22, 2014, 12:48 AM
In 2013, I wore a M&P compact .45acp in a SERPA holster in a few small towns; Indiana County, Westmoreland County, Clarion. I was washing my rental van & a young girl(20-22) saw my .45acp pistol. I told her I had a concealed license.
She laughed & said; no problem, a lot of people open carry around here. :D

Rusty

BenFoo
May 22, 2014, 12:59 AM
I've gone through New Jersey almost every year since the 1980's on the way to visiting Pennsylvania relatives. I've stopped for gas,which somebody else pumps :D ,used restrooms,ate at restaurants ,even stayed in a motel a time or two.

Always carrying a firearm. Nothing untoward has happened to me yet. I'll continue the practice until I can't drive anymore. :scrutiny:

Some people just worry too much. ;)


Yet is the key word.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Aitken

BenFoo
May 22, 2014, 01:03 AM
So, how about this, then, if you don't think FOPA applies. The OP is covered under this exemption in PA law:



The OP is "any person". He is traveling from his home (which happens to be in TN - but the location of his home is not restricted in the statute), and he is traveling to a vacation or recreation dwelling in PA. At the PA border he has to stop, unload the gun, and put it in a "secure wrapper" which is extremely similar to the requirements of FOPA.

If that isn't valid, than basically what some of you are trying to say is that as soon as the OP hits the PA border, unless he is traveling directly through PA without stopping even for gas or a bathroom break, there is no legal way for him to transport a firearm to his destination in PA.


You're not reading it correctly.



PA law dictates that yes he can bring the firearm with him. He can OC it without a permit (save the already noted above) so long as he walks everywhere from where he is staying.

What he cant do is have the unloaded gun in the car, drive some where (thats not a range or his home or a FFL), exit the car, load the pistol up and OC it. Cant do that.

Red Wind
May 22, 2014, 01:52 AM
Yet is the key word

I don't need that sad tale,Ben. Just look up my profile background. I may be a risk taker, but I put the marbles on sensible risks. I've saved several lives in my career and haven't lost one yet ,TMK. I'll continue with the same MO. Too long in the tooth to change now anyway. :)

You can continue to consult Wiki for more parables. I'll stay on the same route. And the Cape May Ferry saloon serves the best Manhattans in America.:cool:

BenFoo
May 22, 2014, 11:42 AM
I don't need that sad tale,Ben. Just look up my profile background. I may be a risk taker, but I put the marbles on sensible risks. I've saved several lives in my career and haven't lost one yet ,TMK. I'll continue with the same MO. Too long in the tooth to change now anyway. :)

You can continue to consult Wiki for more parables. I'll stay on the same route. And the Cape May Ferry saloon serves the best Manhattans in America.:cool:


I'm not sure how to respond to this. That story is in way more places than Wiki, it just happened to be one of the top results when I searched.


All I am saying is be careful. Id hate for anyone to go through a mess like that.


Make your own decisions. Just trying to help and make sure you've got the full picture to make an informed one. All I can do.

Red Wind
May 22, 2014, 12:16 PM
Thanks,Ben. I know you mean well. I'm very careful, with decades of experience in very tough environments. But something can always go wrong, no matter how well planned. Murphy's Law plays no favorites. :D

That's life. Again, your thoughts and information are greatly appreciated. :)

BullfrogKen
May 22, 2014, 12:25 PM
I don't see a recent SoE declaration.


http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/governors_proclamations/4725

swinokur
May 23, 2014, 06:26 AM
You can OC in your car with a permit from any state, not just PA.

In the statute.

Steve in PA
May 23, 2014, 09:52 AM
It's not considered "open carry" in a vehicle.

swinokur
May 23, 2014, 09:54 AM
To have a loaded firearm in a vehicle you need a permit from any state.

Just highlighting the difference.

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