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Thread: Open Carry In Pennsylvania

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    does anyone know the whether there is a difference between the holsters used while open carrying? I have a tactical thigh holster and i like it but don't know if there is a limit as to how i can open carry.. also this is ignorance on my part but if you have a CCW permit you can carry both open or concealed in PA correct? I am still new to the whole open carry thing. I have been Conceal carrying though for almost two years.(as soon as I got my first handgun).



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    I open carry in PA often (at least once a month).

    AFAIK, there is no specific requirement as to the type of holster that would be acceptable for legal open carry. As long as the firearm is securely held and protects the trigger guard, I would say you are fine.

    However, having said that, a thigh rig might attract more attention than a pancake rig.

    On your other question, you are correct. The PA permit is a "License To Carry Firearms" not a concealed carry permit. However, on-foot open carry is legal in PA (except the city of Philly) without a permit. With the permit, you can open carry in Philly and in your car.

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    Q. When do you need a carry permit to carry guns in PA?[/b]

    A. [/b]Under the PA Uniform Firearms Act (“UFA”), which can viewed on Packing.org's PA page, a License to Carry Firearms (“LTCF”) is only required under 4 conditions:

    1. To carry handguns concealed.

    2. To carry handguns inside vehicles (luckily, ANY state's gun carry permit overcomes this restriction).

    3. To carry handguns in Philadelphia.

    4. To carry any gun, including long guns, during declared periods of "emergency."

    Q. Is open carry legal in PA?

    A.[/b]Yes. When walking about PA on foot, no LTCF is required to open carry unless you are in Philadelphia or an "emergency" has been declared. Here are 2 PA Supreme Court cases validating the legality of open carry in PA:

    a. Commonwealth v. Hawkins, 692 A.2d 1068, n.4 (“In all parts of Pennsylvania, persons who are licensed may carry concealed firearms. 18 Pa.C.S. § 6108. Except in Philadelphia, firearms may be carried openly without a license. See Ortiz v. Commonwealth[/i][/b], 545 Pa. 279, 283, 681 A.2d 152, 155 (1996) (only in Philadelphia must a person obtain a license for carrying a firearm whether it is unconcealed or concealed; in other parts of the Commonwealth, unconcealed firearms do not require a license)”).



    b. Ortiz v. Commonwealth, 545 Pa. 279; 681 A.2d 152 (1996)(agreeing with appellant’s citation of the fact that "...in Philadelphia County, the legislature requires that a person must be licensed to carry weapons openly and not concealed from sight, whereas in all other counties of Pennsylvania, weapons may be carried openly without a license[, but holding that appellant’s argument that this fact then exempts Philadelphia from state preemption statute] is plainly without merit [emphasis added]”).



    Q. Can the police lawfully detain, search, and demand ID from citizens carrying guns?



    A. I am aware of no lawful duty for citizens in PA to carry and show ID (or even state their names) on demand to police generally. Obviously, if carrying under anyone of the 4 circumstances above where a LTCF is required by law, then a gun owner must provide the LTCF to a police officer if requested (no extra photo ID required per se by PA law).



    But according to the PA Supreme Court, a report of a “man with a gun” does not per se allow a Terry[/i] stop of that individual. Commonwealth v. Hawkins[/i], 692 A.2d 1068, 1071 (Pa. 1997)(reversing sentence of a man convicted of illegally possessing a gun because the evidence was obtained in violation of privacy rights under the PA constitution; “The Commonwealth takes the radical position that police have a duty to stop and frisk when they receive information from any source that a suspect has a gun. Since it is not illegal to carry a licensed gun in Pennsylvania, it is difficult to see where this shocking idea originates[emphasis added], notwithstanding the Commonwealth's fanciful and histrionic references to maniacs who may spray schoolyards with gunfire and assassins of public figures who may otherwise go undetected. Even if the Constitution of Pennsylvania would permit such invasive police activity as the Commonwealth proposes-which it does not-such activity seems more likely to endanger than to protect the public. Unnecessary police intervention, by definition, produces the possibility of conflict where none need exist [emphasis added] . . . Contrary to the Commonwealth's view, the public will receive its full measure of protection by police who act within the restraints imposed on them by Art. I, § 8 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania and this court's relevant caselaw. Upon receiving unverified information that a certain person is engaged in illegal activity, the police may always observe the suspect and conduct their own investigation. If police surveillance produces a reasonable suspicion of criminal conduct, the suspect may, of course, be briefly stopped and questioned (the Terry investigative stop), and, if the officer has reasonable fear for his safety, police may pat down the suspect's outer garments for weapons.").

    Q. Can I drive around PA with an unloaded handgun in my trunk, then “go open carry” without a LTCF when I get out of my car?[/b]

    A. [/b]I think so, but some folks believe that the UFA could[/i] be read to make it illegal to "transport" an unloaded handgun locked in the trunk of your car on an intra-state journey unless a specific UFA exemption applies (i.e., going to or from the gun dealer or range from home, possessing a LTCF, etc.) - I disagree with this interpretation, but unfortunately, recent updates to the UFA clarified only that transport of unloaded handguns in trunks on inter[/b]-state journeys was not unlawful. Word to wise, have at least some state's CHP if you have a handgun in a vehicle, even locked in the trunk.

    Another word to the wise - not all PA State Police (PSP) troopers know the UFA - recently, my PA attorney told me that he had a citizen contact him because he was traveling thru PA, open carry apparently in a vehicle pursuant to a carry permit that was not officially recognized by PA generally - the Trooper was apparently unaware of the "shall accept" provision in the UFA for car carry and “took him to the station” – although it was later sorted out and he was released, the man’s liberty was seriously infringed. Word to wise – carry a copy of the UFA’s car carry “shall accept” provision if you don’t have a PA LTCF or officially accepted carry permit.

    Q. Are localities preempted in PA?[/b]

    A.[/b] Yes. The UFA preempts localities fully. As the PA Supreme Court said in Ortiz v. Commonwealth[/i], 681 A.2d 152, (Pa. 1996):

    “. . . the Philadelphia appellants, joined by the City of Pittsburgh, argue that although the General Assembly may restrict home rule power to some extent, it may not limit “the ability to perform the basic administrative functions of a municipal government and the ability to fulfill a fundamental purpose for which the City government exists.” In particular, appellants assert that “the right of a city to maintain the peace on its streets through the regulation of weapons is intrinsic to the existence of the government of that city and, accordingly, an irreducible ingredient of constitutionally protected Home Rule.” . . .This claim is frivolous [/b][emphasis added]. The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.Because the ownership of firearms is constitutionally protected, its regulation is a matter of statewide concern. The constitution does not provide that the right to bear arms shall not be questioned in any part of the commonwealth except Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, where it may be abridged at will, but that it shall not be questioned in any part of the commonwealth. Thus, regulation of firearms is a matter of concern in all of Pennsylvania, not merely in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and the General Assembly, not city councils, is the proper forum for the imposition of such regulation.”

    Regardless of local ordinances & regulations, if you are legal under federal and PA law, you can carry in local parks, government buildings, etc. But strangely, state parks have a gun carry ban - many believe that the state park ban exceeds the authority of the agency which runs it, at least as it applies to LTCF holders - word to wise, concealed carry in state parks might be best under a don't ask don't tell policy, until we can get state agencies in PA officially preempted by a statute or court case.

    There are some localities, such as the Pittsburgh Airport, which purportedly ban gun carry in violation of preemption - folks living in those areas need to band together, maybe even forming a "PCDL" and take them to task for these violations of your right to self defense.

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    thanks for all the info .It will gave me my feet to stand on when being questioned about it.

    also yesterday was the first time that I open carried since I found out from your site that we could. (I also double checked with a couple other sites too (attorney general)) I went to walmart for about 20 minutes and got nothing past the quick glances at it. but I think that might have been because the only open carry holster that I have is an Air Force/ Army Rangerblack tactical holster (right thigh)... but I plan to get another one now.

    now if I understand this correctly . open carry - gun is 100% visible. but if you cover up even the butt of the gun .. it is considered concealed correct?

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    I don't know the specifics of PA law, but usually open carry means that it can readily be discerned to be a gun. It does not have to be completely visible. For example, in Virginia an IWB holster is fine for OC as long as the butt of the gun is visible.

    The best way to do it would be to have a concealed carry permit; that way, if it becomes covered it is not a problem.

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    I have been to PA once. I did not see open carry. Then again, I was in Philadelphia. I suppose people there might get spooked and call the police ? I must defer to the other posters.

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    Philadelphia is different. OC is only legal with a permit due to the population making it a "city of the first class"--the only one in PA. OC is legal without a permit everywhere else in PA. I imagine the combination of big city, easily obtained permit to conceal, and restrictions on OC discourages people from doing it in Philadelphia.

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    hirundo82 wrote:
    Philadelphia is different. OC is only legal with a permit due to the population making it a "city of the first class"--the only one in PA. OC is legal without a permit everywhere else in PA. I imagine the combination of big city, easily obtained permit to conceal, and restrictions on OC discourages people from doing it in Philadelphia.
    Your reasoning makes a lot of sense. For all I know, people I saw in Philly may have been concealing. All the more reason for criminals to think twice before assaulting someone.

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    I just spent a week in Latrobe, PA. I bounced back and forth between there and Pittsburgh, and never saw a person OC'ing. I have a CC license from Florida (honored in PA via reciprocity), and decided to keep my Beretta concealed, rather than taking the chance of ending up a 'test case'.


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    Don't forget though, even in an area when open carry is decently common we will not likely observe many people doing it. If I remember correctly, Longwatch down in VA said he's only seen 2 other people open carry out in public, one in the 90s and one recently. Just a thought to keep in mind.

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    Hello I will be going to Erie PA for the weekend to getaway. I am very nervous and a little scared about open carrying. How can i over come it? I have my NY permit plus a PA permit. I want to open carry because it's my right to.





    Is open carry seen around Erie?



    Dan





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    I don't know about erie to well but I do know the "general" area is more a country area.. you shouldn't get bothered to much. maybe in the few blocks of downtown you might get a few looks but normally they won't say anything to you unless they fell uneasy about your body language. but OC away.



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    This site is awesome

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    Bolt06 wrote:
    This site is awesome
    Thank you sir!

    It is comments like this that make it all worthwhile!

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    The question was raised about holsters.

    No specific holster is required for either open or concealed carry. As a matter of fact, and law, no holster is required at all. If you want to carry the handgun tucked into your waistband, you can, and case law will back up your choice.

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    The way i take the law is you need a permit to open carry and concel it.

    § 6106. Firearms not to be carried without a license.
    (a) Offense defined.--Any person who carries a firearm in any vehicle or any person who carries a firearm concealed on or about his person, except in his place of abode or fixed place of business, without a valid and lawfully issued license under this chapter commits a felony of the third degree

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    The way i take the law is you need a permit to open carry and concel it.

    § 6106. Firearms not to be carried without a license.
    (a) Offense defined.--Any person who carries a firearm in any vehicle or any person who carries a firearm concealed on or about his person, except in his place of abode or fixed place of business, without a valid and lawfully issued license under this chapter commits a felony of the third degree

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    ltmdl90 wrote:
    The way i take the law is you need a permit to open carry and concel it.

    § 6106. Firearms not to be carried without a license.
    (a) Offense defined.--Any person who carries a firearm in any vehicle or any person who carries a firearm concealed on or about his person, except in his place of abode or fixed place of business, without a valid and lawfully issued license under this chapter commits a felony of the third degree
    The clause preceeding the "or" does not specify OC or CC; Therefore, both would be prohibited without a license. This section would not affect OC outside of a vehicle.

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    Correct lockman.

    The PA Uniform Firearms Act ("UFA"), which only an old and slightly outdated copy is posted to the Internet on Packing.org, provides generally that a License to Carry Firearms (LTCF) is needed to carry handguns in 3 circumstances:

    1. Concealed.

    2. In vehicles.

    3. In Philadelphia.

    Note aslo that a LTCF is required to carry any gun, even a long gun, in times of decalred emergency.

    Thus in PA it would be legal to confiscate most Pennsylvania residents guns in a Hurricane Katrina scenario if you carry any guns in public.

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    6107.

    "No person shall carry a firearm, rifle or shotgun upon the public streets or upon any public propery during an emergency...."



    Wouldn't it really tick off our deer hunters if that rule was enforced during common winter emergencies?

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    Hey Mike:

    I think you mean "it would be legal to confiscate guns *openly carried* during periods of emergencies." The confiscation of guns a la New Orleans isn't addressed.

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    I haven't carried openly in PA as of yet, probably due to my conditioning as a NJ resident. When I got a FL CCW many years ago, I remember how nervous I was the first time I noticed a LEO in a checkout line behind me while carrying. Man, I nearly wet my pants and fumbled making change, I was so nervous. I'm surprised the officer didn't "talk" to me just for my suspicious behavior.

    The first time I was in Arizona, I was similarly reluctant to carry openly until a local gun shop owner outside Tucson (himself transplanted from Chicago) told me that guns are "invisible" to all but tourists (who have cognitive dissonance when they see non-LEOs carrying guns). I doubt that it's the same in PA, and I can't imagine that I'll get the same reaction carrying my .45 down Hamilton Blvd. in Allentown as I did on Allen Street in Tombstone.

    It's worth a try, though, if I can mentally overcome my NJ "training".

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    Dorsey, be careful in PA with your Florida CCW. Below is what I received DIRECTLY from the state of Florida. Mike will get p*ssed off at me but I'm just warning you to be careful. It appears as someone is trying to make life especially difficult for us Jerseyans.



    Jersey Ron



    Good afternoon, Mr. Paige:

    For the time being, the answer to your question is yes. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does honor Florida concealed weapon licenses held by non-Florida residents. However, over the past few months, we have received a number of telephone calls and e-mails from citizens who have been told otherwise. Apparently, there is some difference of opinion between the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office and the Pennsylvania State Police over the precise interpretation of the provisions of the reciprocity agreement. If you call Pennsylvania and pose this question, the answer you will get will depend upon which office you call and which person you speak with.

    This is not the first time that this matter has become a disputed issue. When we requested confirmation regarding the status of non-resident Florida licenses in Pennsylvania from the Attorney General's Office in March 2005, Chief Deputy Attorney General Robert A. Mulle informed us that Pennsylvania would honor all valid Florida permits, including those issued to non-residents. I have received verbal confirmation from Mr. Mulle since that time, even as recently as early January. However, e-mails and telephone calls continued to trickle into our office from some of our non-resident licensees who have been told that non-resident licenses would not be honored in Pennsylvania. I sent an e-mail to Mr. Mulle on March 14 explaining the situation to him and requesting a definitive answer. He told me that he would get back to me when he had an answer. To date, I have not received any word from him.

    So, as I said, for the time being your non-resident license is valid in the Commonwealth Pennsylvania. This is the official word I have received from the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office. I regret that conflicting information is coming out of Pennsylvania. I wish I could give you an ironclad answer on this issue. However, I can tell you only when I have been told by the AG's office.

    I will put your name in my pending correspondence file regarding the Pennsylvania reciprocity issue. If I get word of a final resolution to this matter, I will send you an e-mail and let you know the outcome.

    Ken Wilkinson

    Management Analyst

    Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services

    Division of Licensing

    Post Office Box 6687

    Tallahassee, Florida 32314-6687

    TEL: 850-245-5665

    FAX: 850-245-5655





    -----Original Message-----

    Sent: Thursday, April 05, 2007 1:34 PM

    To: DOLWeb Questions/Inquires

    Subject: Ask Your Question



    Would like more information, I already have my application:

    Concealed Weapon License

    My question is: Can someone please tell me if the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania honors the nonresident Florida CCW license? There seems to be a very nasty rumor OR fact floating around in Pennsylvania and I would like to know if its true or not.Thanks,Ronnie



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    Thanks for that heads-up, Ron. I had read your posting earlier and was aware of this issue. Please do keep me posted, if you can.

    My FL Concealed Weapon or Firearm License is actually a resident license because I have property down there, took the licensing course locally, and had my prints taken and signed by a uniformed member of the Broward County Sheriff's Department. I subsequently renewed my license through the same address. It may take some explaining to a PA LEO why I have a NJ DL and FL CWFL, but the answer is: dual residence. NJ makes it impossible to insure vehicles registered in this state without a NJ DL, so I took the "path of least resistance".

    So, regarding firearms, I'd be a FL resident in PA (I think). As for driving, I'd be a NJ resident in PA (I know). What bothers me more is whether or not the PA law on open carry only applies to PA residents.

    Aren't we punished enough just living in the Glorious People's State? Why do other states have to remind us and rub our noses in it?

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    Hey no problem Dorsey! We've got to look out for each other! I'll keep you posted!





    Jersey Ron

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