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What are the Gun Laws in Pennsylvania?

A Synopsis of State Laws on Purchase, Possession and Carrying of Firearms



“Antique firearm” means:
  1. Any firearm manufactured in or before 1898. Any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, or percussion cap type of ignition system.

  2. Any replica of any firearm manufactured in or before 1898 if such replica:
    • Is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition.

    • Uses rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade.
Generally, antique firearms are exempt from Pennsylvania’s Uniform Firearms Act. However, antique firearms are not exempt from the provisions relating to carrying without a license or possession by prohibited persons.

Machine Guns

Most items that are required to be registered under the National Firearms Act such as machine guns, suppressors, short barreled rifles and shotguns, are prohibited in Pennsylvania as “offensive weapons” unless they are registered under the NFA.

It is an affirmative defense for those found in possession of NFA weapons if proven by a preponderance of the evidence that there were possessed:

  • Solely as a curio.
  • In a dramatic performance.
  • As a consequence of having found it.
  • As a consequence of having taken it from an aggressor.


The state legislature has preempted the field of firearm regulation. No county, municipality or township may in any manner regulate the lawful ownership, possession or transportation of firearms, ammunition or ammunition components when carried or transported for purposes not prohibited by the laws of the Commonwealth.

No political subdivision may bring or maintain an action at law or in equity against any firearm or ammunition manufacturer, trade association or dealer for damages, abatement, injunctive relief or any other relief or remedy resulting from or relating to either the lawful design or manufacture of firearms or ammunition or the lawful marketing or sale of firearms or ammunition to the public.

This does not prevent a political subdivision from bringing an action for breach of contract or warranty for firearms or ammunition purchased by the political subdivision.

It is a felony to alter, change, remove or obliterate the manufacturer’s number integral to the frame or receiver of a firearm, or to possess a firearm that has been so altered.

This does not apply to antique firearms.

Nothing in the law allows a government agency or an agent thereof to create, maintain, or operate any registry of firearms ownership within the Commonwealth.

Sources: 18 PA CONS. STAT. § 908; §§ 6101; 6102; 6105-6109; 6110.1; 6110.2; 6111; 6111.2-6111.4; 6117; 6118; 6120; 6122; 6125; 6141.1; 6142

See Also: NRAILA

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