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Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association

18 Pa.C.S. 6109: Licenses

(a) Purpose of license.--A license to carry a firearm shall be for the purpose of carrying a firearm concealed on or about one's person or in a vehicle throughout this Commonwealth.
(b) Place of application.--An individual who is 21 years of age or older may apply to a sheriff for a license to carry a firearm concealed on or about his person or in a vehicle within this Commonwealth. If the applicant is a resident of this Commonwealth, he shall make application with the sheriff of the county in which he resides or, if a resident of a city of the first class, with the chief of police of that city.
(c) Form of application and content.--The application for a license to carry a firearm shall be uniform throughout this Commonwealth and shall be on a form prescribed by the Pennsylvania State Police. The form may contain provisions, not exceeding one page, to assure compliance with this section. Issuing authorities shall use only the application form prescribed by the Pennsylvania State Police. One of the following reasons for obtaining a firearm license shall be set forth in the application: self-defense, employment, hunting and fishing, target shooting, gun collecting or another proper reason. The application form shall be dated and signed by the applicant and shall contain the following statement:
  I have never been convicted of a crime that prohibits me from possessing or acquiring a firearm under Federal or State law. I am of sound mind and have never been committed to a mental institution. I hereby certify that the statements contained herein are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief. I understand that, if I knowingly make any false statements herein, I am subject to penalties prescribed by law. I authorize the sheriff, or his designee, or, in the case of first class cities, the chief or head of the police department, or his designee, to inspect only those records or documents relevant to information required for this application. If I am issued a license and knowingly become ineligible to legally possess or acquire firearms, I will promptly notify the sheriff of the county in which I reside or, if I reside in a city of the first class, the chief of police of that city.
(d) Sheriff to conduct investigation.--The sheriff to whom the application is made shall:
  (1) investigate the applicant's record of criminal conviction;
  (2) investigate whether or not the applicant is under indictment for or has ever been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment exceeding one year;
  (3) investigate whether the applicant's character and reputation are such that the applicant will not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety;
  (4) investigate whether the applicant would be precluded from receiving a license under subsection (e)(1) or section 6105(h) (relating to persons not to possess, use, manufacture, control, sell or transfer firearms); and
  (5) conduct a criminal background, juvenile delinquency and mental health check following the procedures set forth in section 6111 (relating to sale or transfer of firearms), receive a unique approval number for that inquiry and record the date and number on the application.
(e) Issuance of license.--
  (1) A license to carry a firearm shall be for the purpose of carrying a firearm concealed on or about one's person or in a vehicle and shall be issued if, after an investigation not to exceed 45 days, it appears that the applicant is an individual concerning whom no good cause exists to deny the license. A license shall not be issued to any of the following:
    (i) An individual whose character and reputation is such that the individual would be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety.
    (ii) An individual who has been convicted of an offense under the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L. 233, No. 64), known as The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act. [FN1]
    (iii) An individual convicted of a crime enumerated in section 6105.
    (iv) An individual who, within the past ten years, has been adjudicated delinquent for a crime enumerated in section 6105 or for an offense under The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act.
    (v) An individual who is not of sound mind or who has ever been committed to a mental institution.
    (vi) An individual who is addicted to or is an unlawful user of marijuana or a stimulant, depressant or narcotic drug.
    (vii) An individual who is a habitual drunkard.
    (viii) An individual who is charged with or has been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year except as provided for in section 6123 (relating to waiver of disability or pardons).
    (ix) A resident of another state who does not possess a current license or permit or similar document to carry a firearm issued by that state if a license is provided for by the laws of that state, as published annually in the Federal Register by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms of the Department of the Treasury under 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(19) (relating to definitions).
    (x) An alien who is illegally in the United States.
    (xi) An individual who has been discharged from the armed forces of the United States under dishonorable conditions.
    (xii) An individual who is a fugitive from justice. This subparagraph does not apply to an individual whose fugitive status is based upon nonmoving or moving summary offense under Title 75 (relating to vehicles).
    (xiii) An individual who is otherwise prohibited from possessing, using, manufacturing, controlling, purchasing, selling or transferring a firearm as provided by section 6105.
    (xiv) An individual who is prohibited from possessing or acquiring a firearm under the statutes of the United States.
  (2) Deleted by 1995, June 13, No. 17 (Spec. Sess. No. 1), 2, effective in 120 days.
  <Text of subsec. (e)(3) effective until publication of the notice under 18 Pa.C.S.A. 6109(h)(2) or five years and 60 days [Jan. 10, 2011], whichever is first.>
  (3) The license to carry a firearm shall be designed to be uniform throughout this Commonwealth and shall be in a form prescribed by the Pennsylvania State Police. The license shall bear the following:
    (i) The name, address, date of birth, race, sex, citizenship, height, weight, color of hair, color of eyes and signature of the licensee.
    (ii) The signature of the sheriff issuing the license.
    (iii) [Reserved]
    (iv) [Reserved]
    (v) The reason for issuance.
    (vi) The period of validation.
  The sheriff may also require a photograph of the licensee on the license.
  <Text of subsec. (e)(3) effective upon publication of the notice under 18 Pa.C.S.A. 6109(h)(2) or five years and 60 days [Jan. 10, 2011], whichever is first.>
  (3) The license to carry a firearm shall be designed to be uniform throughout this Commonwealth and shall be in a form prescribed by the Pennsylvania State Police. The license shall bear the following:
    (i) The name, address, date of birth, race, sex, citizenship, height, weight, color of hair, color of eyes and signature of the licensee.
    (ii) The signature of the sheriff issuing the license.
    (iii) A license number of which the first two numbers shall be a county location code followed by numbers issued in numerical sequence.
    (iv) The point-of-contact telephone number designated by the Pennsylvania State Police under subsection (l).
    (v) The reason for issuance.
    (vi) The period of validation.
  <Text of subsec. (e)(4) effective upon publication of the notice under 18 Pa.C.S.A. 6109(h)(2) or five years and 60 days [Jan. 10, 2011], whichever is first.>
  (4) The sheriff shall require a photograph of the licensee on the license. The photograph shall be in a form compatible with the Commonwealth Photo Imaging Network.
  (5) The original license shall be issued to the applicant. The first copy of the license shall be forwarded to the Pennsylvania State Police within seven days of the date of issue. The second copy shall be retained by the issuing authority for a period of seven years. Except pursuant to court order, both copies and the application shall, at the end of the seven-year period, be destroyed unless the license has been renewed within the seven-year period.
(f) Term of license.--
  (1) A license to carry a firearm issued under subsection (e) shall be valid throughout this Commonwealth for a period of five years unless extended under paragraph (3) or sooner revoked.
  (2) At least 60 days prior to the expiration of each license, the issuing sheriff shall send to the licensee an application for renewal of license. Failure to receive a renewal application shall not relieve a licensee from the responsibility to renew the license.
  (3) Notwithstanding paragraph (1) or any other provision of law to the contrary, a license to carry a firearm that is held by a member of the United States Armed Forces or the Pennsylvania National Guard on Federal active duty and deployed overseas that is scheduled to expire during the period of deployment shall be extended until 90 days after the end of the deployment.
  (4) Possession of a license, together with a copy of the person's military orders showing the dates of overseas deployment, including the date that the overseas deployment ends, shall constitute, during the extension period specified in paragraph (3), a defense to any charge filed pursuant to section 6106 (relating to firearms not to be carried without a license) or 6108 (relating to carrying firearms on public streets or public property in Philadelphia).
(g) Grant or denial of license.--Upon the receipt of an application for a license to carry a firearm, the sheriff shall, within 45 days, issue or refuse to issue a license on the basis of the investigation under subsection (d) and the accuracy of the information contained in the application. If the sheriff refuses to issue a license, the sheriff shall notify the applicant in writing of the refusal and the specific reasons. The notice shall be sent by certified mail to the applicant at the address set forth in the application.
(h) Fee.--
  (1) In addition to fees described in paragraphs (2)(ii) and (3), the fee for a license to carry a firearm is $19. This includes all of the following:
    (i) A renewal notice processing fee of $1.50.
    (ii) An administrative fee of $5 under section 14(2) of the act of July 6, 1984 (P.L. 614, No. 127), [FN2] known as the Sheriff Fee Act.
  (2) (i) The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency shall implement, within five years of the effective date of this paragraph, a system in conjunction with the Pennsylvania State Police and the Pennsylvania Sheriffs' Association to standardize and modernize the process of issuing licenses to carry firearms. Upon implementation of the system under this paragraph, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency shall publish notice thereof in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
    (ii) An additional temporary fee of $5 shall be remitted by the sheriff to the Firearms License to Carry Modernization Account, which is hereby established as a special restricted receipt account within the General Fund of the State Treasury. Moneys and investment income in the account shall be awarded as grants to sheriffs to implement the system, including grants to reimburse sheriffs for expenses incurred prior to the effective date of this paragraph.
    (iii) Moneys credited to the account and any investment income accrued are hereby appropriated on a continuing basis to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. The commission shall establish procedures related to the application process for and distribution of funds to sheriffs under this paragraph. Notwithstanding the provisions of subparagraph (ii), the commission may withhold annually an amount not exceeding 5% of the funds credited to the account in that fiscal year for the cost to implement the system under subparagraph (i) and for administrative costs directly related to the responsibilities of the commission under this paragraph.
    (iv) This paragraph shall expire five years after its effective date. Any surplus funds remaining in the account established in subparagraph (ii) at such time shall lapse into the General Fund.
  (3) An additional fee of $1 shall be paid by the applicant for a license to carry a firearm and shall be remitted by the sheriff to the Firearms License Validation System Account, which is hereby established as a special restricted receipt account within the General Fund of the State Treasury. The account shall be used for purposes under subsection (l). Moneys credited to the account and any investment income accrued are hereby appropriated on a continuing basis to the Pennsylvania State Police.
  (4) No fee other than that provided by this subsection or the Sheriff Fee Act may be assessed by the sheriff for the performance of any background check made pursuant to this act.
  (5) The fee is payable to the sheriff to whom the application is submitted and is payable at the time of application for the license.
  (6) Except for the administrative fee of $5 under section 14(2) of the Sheriff Fee Act, all other fees shall be refunded if the application is denied but shall not be refunded if a license is issued and subsequently revoked.
  (7) A person who sells or attempts to sell a license to carry a firearm for a fee in excess of the amounts fixed under this subsection commits a summary offense.
(i) Revocation.--A license to carry firearms may be revoked by the issuing authority for good cause. A license to carry firearms shall be revoked by the issuing authority for any reason stated in subsection (e)(1) which occurs during the term of the permit. Notice of revocation shall be in writing and shall state the specific reason for revocation. Notice shall be sent by certified mail to the individual whose license is revoked, and, at that time, notice shall also be provided to the Pennsylvania State Police by electronic means, including e-mail or facsimile transmission, that the license is no longer valid. An individual whose license is revoked shall surrender the license to the issuing authority within five days of receipt of the notice. An individual whose license is revoked may appeal to the court of common pleas for the judicial district in which the individual resides. An individual who violates this section commits a summary offense.
(i.1) Notice to sheriff.--Notwithstanding any statute to the contrary:
  (1) Upon conviction of a person for a crime specified in section 6105(a) or (b) or upon conviction of a person for a crime punishable by imprisonment exceeding one year or upon a determination that the conduct of a person meets the criteria specified in section 6105(c)(1), (2), (3), (5), (6) or (9), the court shall determine if the defendant has a license to carry firearms issued pursuant to this section. If the defendant has such a license, the court shall notify the sheriff of the county in which that person resides, on a form developed by the Pennsylvania State Police, of the identity of the person and the nature of the crime or conduct which resulted in the notification. The notification shall be transmitted by the judge within seven days of the conviction or determination.
  (2) Upon adjudication that a person is incompetent or upon the involuntary commitment of a person to a mental institution for inpatient care and treatment under the act of July 9, 1976 (P.L. 817, No. 143), known as the Mental Health Procedures Act, or upon involuntary treatment of a person as described under section 6105(c)(4), the judge of the court of common pleas, mental health review officer or county mental health and mental retardation administrator shall notify the sheriff of the county in which that person resides, on a form developed by the Pennsylvania State Police, of the identity of the person who has been adjudicated, committed or treated and the nature of the adjudication, commitment or treatment. The notification shall be transmitted by the judge, mental health review officer or county mental health and mental retardation administrator within seven days of the adjudication, commitment or treatment.
(j) Immunity.--A sheriff who complies in good faith with this section shall be immune from liability resulting or arising from the action or misconduct with a firearm committed by any individual to whom a license to carry a firearm has been issued.
(k) Reciprocity.--
  (1) The Attorney General shall have the power and duty to enter into reciprocity agreements with other states providing for the mutual recognition of a license to carry a firearm issued by the Commonwealth and a license or permit to carry a firearm issued by the other state. To carry out this duty, the Attorney General is authorized to negotiate reciprocity agreements and grant recognition of a license or permit to carry a firearm issued by another state.
  (2) The Attorney General shall report to the General Assembly within 180 days of the effective date of this paragraph and annually thereafter concerning the agreements which have been consummated under this subsection.
(l) Firearms License Validation System.--
  (1) The Pennsylvania State Police shall establish a nationwide toll- free telephone number, known as the Firearms License Validation System, which shall be operational seven days a week, 24 hours per day, for the purpose of responding to law enforcement inquiries regarding the validity of any Pennsylvania license to carry a firearm.
  (2) Notwithstanding any other law regarding the confidentiality of information, inquiries to the Firearms License Validation System regarding the validity of any Pennsylvania license to carry a firearm may only be made by law enforcement personnel acting within the scope of their official duties.
  (3) Law enforcement personnel outside this Commonwealth shall provide their originating agency identifier number and the license number of the license to carry a firearm which is the subject of the inquiry.
  (4) Responses to inquiries by law enforcement personnel outside this Commonwealth shall be limited to the name of the licensee, the validity of the license and any information which may be provided to a criminal justice agency pursuant to Chapter 91 (relating to criminal history record information).
(m) Inquiries.--
  (1) The Attorney General shall, not later than one year after the effective date of this subsection and not less than once annually, contact in writing the appropriate authorities in any other state which does not have a current reciprocity agreement with the Commonwealth to determine if:
    (i) the state will negotiate a reciprocity agreement;
    (ii) a licensee may carry a concealed firearm in the state; or
    (iii) a licensee may apply for a license or permit to carry a firearm issued by the state.
  (2) The Attorney General shall maintain a current list of those states which have a reciprocity agreement with the Commonwealth, those states which allow licensees to carry a concealed firearm and those states which allow licensees to apply for a license or permit to carry a firearm. This list shall be posted on the Internet, provided to the Pennsylvania State Police and made available to the public upon request.
(m.1) Temporary emergency licenses.--
  (1) A person seeking a temporary emergency license to carry a concealed firearm shall submit to the sheriff of the county in which the person resides all of the following:
    (i) Evidence of imminent danger to the person or the person's minor child. For purposes of this subparagraph, the term "minor" shall have the same meaning as provided in 1 Pa.C.S. 1991 (relating to definitions).
    (ii) A sworn affidavit that contains the information required on an application for a license to carry a firearm and attesting that the person is 21 years of age or older, is not prohibited from owning firearms under section 6105 (relating to persons not to possess, use, manufacture, control, sell or transfer firearms) or any other Federal or State law and is not currently subject to a protection from abuse order or a protection order issued by a court of another state.
    (iii) In addition to the provisions of subsection (h), a temporary emergency license fee established by the Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police for an amount that does not exceed the actual cost of conducting the criminal background check or $10, whichever is less.
    (iv) An application for a license to carry a firearm on the form prescribed pursuant to subsection (c).
  (2) Upon receipt of the items required under paragraph (1), the sheriff immediately shall conduct a criminal history, juvenile delinquency and mental health record check of the applicant pursuant to section 6105. Immediately upon receipt of the results of the records check, the sheriff shall review the information and shall determine whether the applicant meets the criteria set forth in this subsection. If the sheriff determines that the applicant has met all of the criteria, the sheriff shall immediately issue the applicant a temporary emergency license to carry a concealed firearm.
  (3) If the sheriff refuses to issue a temporary emergency license, the sheriff shall specify the grounds for the denial in a written notice to the applicant. The applicant may appeal the denial or challenge criminal records check results that were the basis of the denial, if applicable, in the same manner as a denial of a license to carry a firearm under this section.
  (4) A temporary emergency license issued under this subsection shall be valid for 45 days and may not be renewed. A person who has been issued a temporary emergency license under this subsection shall not be issued another temporary emergency license unless at least five years have expired since the issuance of the prior temporary emergency license. During the 45 days the temporary emergency license is valid, the sheriff shall conduct an additional investigation of the person for the purposes of determining whether the person may be issued a license pursuant to this section. If, during the course of this investigation, the sheriff discovers any information that would have prohibited the issuance of a license pursuant to this section, the sheriff shall be authorized to revoke the temporary emergency license as provided in subsection (i).
  (5) The temporary emergency license issued pursuant to this section shall be consistent with the form prescribed in subsection (e)(3), (4) and (5). In addition to the information provided in those paragraphs, the temporary emergency license shall be clearly marked "Temporary."
  (6) A person who holds a temporary emergency license to carry a firearm shall have the same rights to carry a firearm as a person issued a license to carry a firearm under this section. A licensee under this subsection shall be subject to all other duties, restrictions and penalties under this section, including revocation pursuant to subsection (i).
  (7) A sheriff who issues a temporary emergency license to carry a firearm shall retain, for the entire period during which the temporary emergency license is in effect, the evidence of imminent danger that the applicant submitted to the sheriff that was the basis for the license, or a copy of the evidence, as appropriate.
  (8) A person applying for a temporary emergency license shall complete the application required pursuant to subsection (c) and shall provide at the time of application the information required in paragraph (1).
  (9) Prior to the expiration of a temporary emergency license, if the sheriff has determined pursuant to investigation that the person issued a temporary emergency license is not disqualified and if the temporary emergency license has not been revoked pursuant to subsection (i), the sheriff shall issue a license pursuant to this section that is effective for the balance of the five-year period from the date of the issuance of the temporary emergency license. Records and all other information, duties and obligations regarding such licenses shall be applicable as otherwise provided in this section.
  (10) As used in this subsection, the term "evidence of imminent danger" means:
    (i) a written document prepared by the Attorney General, a district attorney, a chief law enforcement officer, judicial officer or their designees describing the facts that give a person reasonable cause to fear a criminal attack upon the person or the person's minor child. For the purposes of this subparagraph, the term "chief law enforcement officer" shall have the same meaning as provided in 42 Pa.C.S. 8951 (relating to definitions) and "judicial officer" shall have the same meaning as provided in 42 Pa.C.S. 102 (relating to definitions).
    (ii) a police report.
(m.2) Inconsistent provisions.--Notwithstanding the provisions of section 7506 (relating to violation of rules regarding conduct on Commonwealth property), 75 Pa.C.S. 7727 (relating to additional limitations on operation) or the act of June 28, 1995 (P.L. 89, No. 18), [FN3] known as the Conservation and Natural Resources Act, and regulations promulgated under that act, a firearm may be carried as provided in subsection (a) by:
  (1) a law enforcement officer whose current identification as a law enforcement officer shall be construed as a valid license to carry a firearm; or
  (2) any licensee.
(m.3) Construction.--Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the hunting or harvesting of any wildlife with a firearm or ammunition not otherwise permitted by 34 Pa.C.S. (relating to game).
(n) Definition.--As used in this section, the term "licensee" means an individual who is licensed to carry a firearm under this section.