What Is The Penalty For Carrying A Gun Without A Permit In PA?

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For individuals looking to carry a gun in Pennsylvania, you must be 21 or older and have a valid license to do so. Concealed carry permit PA Being charged with carrying a gun without the requisite license may result in severe penalties such as expensive fines, years in jail, and a permanent criminal record. So, what are the penalties for carrying a gun without a permit in PA?

In Pennsylvania, carrying a concealed firearm without a permit could result in a first-degree misdemeanor where you may be fined up to $10,000 and sentenced to five years in prison. For individuals who are ineligible to obtain a concealed carry permit, you may be charged with as much as a third-degree felony.

It’s important to understand the other potential charges of carrying a firearm without a license, the exceptions to the rule, and how to obtain a firearm license in PA.

Penalties For Carrying A Concealed Firearm Without A License In PA

The Pennsylvania Criminal Code, Title 18, Chapter 16, states that all individuals carrying a concealed firearm in their vehicle or person without a license may be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. However, this excludes a fixed business location or at home.

Depending on the details of the case, a charge of carrying a concealed firearm without a license can either be classified as a felony or misdemeanor.

Misdemeanor Gun Charges

  • You were carrying a concealed firearm in your car or person without a license; and
  • You didn’t commit any other criminal offenses; and
  • You are eligible to obtain a license

As a misdemeanor of the 1st degree, you’ll face these potential penalties:

  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • 5 to 5 years in jail

Even if you suffer a misdemeanor charge, this will be left on your criminal record, and defending your case with an experienced criminal lawyer like Derek Steenson should be your first priority.

Felony Gun Charges

  • You’re caught with a concealed firearm in your car or person without a license; and
  • You’re not eligible for a firearm permit; or
  • You’ve committed another criminal offense while carrying the concealed firearm

In these cases, you will receive a third-degree felony charge and face these potential penalties:

  • A fine of up to $15,000
  • From 3.5 to 7 years in jail

Felony charges will cause a bad stigma and leave a black mark on your criminal record. As a result, maintaining employment or receiving employment will be difficult.

First Offense Gun Charge PA

It is a first-degree misdemeanor to carry a firearm into a court facility. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, confinement in jail or prison for up to five years, or both. Gun charges are even more seriously dealt with in Philadelphia, a city of the first class in Pennsylvania.

What Makes A Gun Charge Federal?

Federal gun charges are brought against individuals improperly buying, selling, possessing, or using firearms when the sale or transport of those firearms crosses state lines. These are some of the most common federal firearm charges that are brought against individuals by federal prosecutors.

Exceptions To Penalties Of Carrying A Firearm Without A Permit

There are some exceptions to violating the law of carrying a firearm without a permit, which includes:

  • Members of the United States military, including the reserves
  • Members of law enforcement, including local, state, and federal officers
  • Anyone who is located inside of a target practice facility
  • Enrolled members of a Pennsylvania or United States organization that is permitted to purchase or receive firearms
  • Anybody involved in carrying an unloaded firearm, which must be securely wrapped after repair, purchase, PA Gun Charges appraisal, or sale
  • Anyone that is recovering the firearm as stolen property
  • Any person training a dog during a standard training season
  • Anyone moving from one office to another or one home to another
  • Any person involved in dealing with, repairing, or manufacturing firearms usually carries an unloaded firearm for business purposes.
  • Security or bank employees who are required to protect valuables or money
  • Anybody who is licensed to hunt
  • Any person instructed by authorities to relinquish firearms back to a certain location
  • Any person who is carrying a firearm in a motor vehicle with a valid license for a firearm under another state or federal law which is accepted by Pennsylvania.

What To Do If You’re Charged With A Gun Crime?

If you were charged for carrying a firearm without a license, you should contact an experienced Philadelphia criminal defense attorney. Also, never talk with the prosecutors or police without having your attorney present. Often your verbal statements will be taken out of their original context and be used unfavorably in your case.

A licensed criminal defense attorney can examine issues and present defenses in your case such as:

  • Whether a felony charge is provable or appropriate
  • Whether a license is needed in your situation
  • Determine whether or not your case falls under any exceptions
  • Determine whether you’re able to file a suppression motion to filter out evidence


Defending your case is crucial in protecting your way of life and freedom. Just because you have been charged with a specific crime doesn’t mean you have to accept the charge.

How Do I Obtain a License to Carry a Firearm in PA?

Obtaining a firearm license to carry a firearm in Pennsylvania isn’t difficult. However, it does require you to be 21 or older, and you must have a clean criminal record. You’ll have to visit the local county tasked with handling carry permits to fill out the application.  They will run a criminal background check and review your record. In addition, the office will confirm that you have no outstanding warrants or charges.

How Hiring a Criminal Lawyer in Philadelphia Can Help

The first step is to consult an experienced criminal lawyer who can investigate evidence offered against you and prepare your defense. Derek Steenson, criminal attorney at law, can put the odds back in your favor. We have handled many conceal and carry violation cases and would be happy to put our expertise and experience to work for you. Since your liberty and future are at stake, our goal is to fight your charge and achieve the best outcome for your case. We’ll guide you along the way and walk you through the entire legal process.