Pennsylvania gun laws are under fire from activists and politicians pushing for increased gun control. The Keystone state has always prided itself on its place in history as the birthplace of our nation, where our constitution was not only written but also signed, guaranteeing our rights. While we still enjoy more liberties than some other states, your Second Amendment rights continue to come under fire by campaigns of misinformation, government overreach, and scare tactics meant to sell new copy rather than inform the public. As passionate believers in Virtue, Liberty, and Independence, Eagle Shows is dedicated to keeping you informed about Pennsylvania gun control laws and how they affect your Constitutional rights.
What Is Considered A Firearm In Pennsylvania
Almost every pistol, revolver, shotgun, and rifle falls under the definition of “Firearm” in Pennsylvania gun laws. Certain firearms, however, such as machine guns, short-barrelled shotguns, or other guns that meet certain National Firearms Act requirements are illegal unless Federally registered and taxed. Despite the gun control efforts of Pennsylvania Attorney General Shapiro, firearms parts, such as 80% receivers–unfinished lower receivers that require further milling, drilling, or machining before they are complete and able to be assembled into a working firearm–are not considered firearms.
Owning A Gun In Pennsylvania
Under Pennsylvania gun laws, you can own either a long gun or handgun at 18 years of age. While many youths still enjoy our outdoor sporting traditions, their firearms are legally the property of their parents or guardians until they reach the age of majority and the gun can be transferred. While an 18-year-old may own a handgun they are given as a gift, they can’t legally purchase one under federal law until they are 21. An 18 year old may freely purchase long guns and firearms components unless otherwise prohibited.
Other reasons you may not be able to own a firearm under Pennsylvania laws are the possession of a criminal background, if you intend to commit a crime, or use any illicit substances, which includes Marijuana, even if it is prescribed for medical use, as it remains a controlled substance on the federal level. You also may not be able to own a firearm if you’ve been judged mentally unfit or are an undocumented immigrant. This is not an exhaustive list, and anti-gun activists continue to push for stricter limitations on gun ownership.
Where And How To Buy A Firearm In Pennsylvania
There are two primary ways to buy a gun in Pennsylvania: either from a licensed gun dealer or from a private individual. Licensed gun dealers hold a Federal Firearms License (FFL) that enables them to process firearms transactions, perform the required background checks, and maintain the records in accordance with state and Federal law. They operate storefronts, work out of home offices, and sell their stock at gun shows.
For purchases from a private individual, no registration or paperwork is required if the gun being transferred is a long gun. For handguns, a background check is required for a nominal fee, and the transfer must go through an FFL holder who will process the paperwork and maintain the appropriate records. Gun shows are a great place to meet both kinds of dealers in a safe environment for all parties. They are well lit, have excellent on-site security, and all local, state, and federal laws are followed, so you can buy with confidence.
Other Ways To Get A Firearm Legally In Pennsylvania
While the vast majority of guns are acquired via a sale that’s regulated by Pennsylvania gun laws, there are a few other paths to legal gun ownership. Gifting of a firearm is allowed as long as the gifting is not intended to avoid a background check and the person receiving the gift is allowed to own a firearm. Transfers of firearms between spouses, parents or grandparents and their adult children, and between active law enforcement officers are exempt from the standard handgun transfer practices. Transfers of long guns between private individuals are legal whether as a sale or gifting.
An increasing number of gun owners are entering the hobby or adding to their collections by building their own firearms. 80% lower kits and 3D printed frames have made it possible for private parties to make commercial-grade guns in the comfort of their own homes, workshops, or garages. A frequent target of Pennsylvania gun control initiatives, this remains a legal path to gun ownership that also lets the maker explore the American tradition of self-reliance by building the gun they use for self-defense or range practice with their own hands.
Current Gun Control Concerns
- Senate Bill 448: Protecting Your Rights To Self Defense – This bill seeks to let legal gun owners challenge local gun control ordinances without having to risk being arrested for violations first. If a gun owner believes a gun law is unconstitutional, this would allow them to sue for a change without risking having their firearms confiscated or being arrested as a criminal.
- Senate Bill 565: Constitutional Carry – Under this bill, Pennsylvania gun laws would allow any law-abiding citizen to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.
- Ghost Guns Under Fire – Homemade firearms, sometimes referred to by the media and gun-control activists as “Ghost Guns” due to their lack of serial number, are in jeopardy from the Justice Department at the Federal level and from State officials who seek to ban them.
Stand Up For Your Rights
We invite you to enjoy your Second Amendment freedoms by joining with other like-minded individuals at your local Eagle Shows gun show. As Pennsylvania’s Largest Gun Show, we offer a safe, friendly venue to find the firearms, parts, and accessories that you need in a venue that’s fun for the whole family. Sign up for our newsletter and follow our blog to keep up with the latest firearm news from Pennsylvania and to find out when your local gun show is returning to an event center near you. Secure your early access to find your next firearm when you get your tickets from Eagle Shows today.