AG Shapiro Announces Results, Launches New Website to Aid Law Enforcement and Citizens in Understanding PA’s Concealed Carry Reciprocity
HARRISBURG – Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced his office has completed an exhaustive review of concealed carry reciprocity agreements with all 49 other states, as required under Pennsylvania law. The purpose of the review is to ensure consistency in how concealed carry licenses are enforced in Pennsylvania, and to aid law enforcement in doing its job to protect the public.
The reciprocity review, completed following a nearly year-long effort undertaken by the Office of Attorney General, involved office attorneys writing and communicating with every state in the country to review their concealed carry laws, in order to determine whether states have standards that match or exceed Pennsylvania law. It also involves the unveiling of a new website to make it easier and clearer for law enforcement and citizens to learn at-a-glance whether their state has reciprocity with Pennsylvania and vice versa.
After this review, Pennsylvania recognizes the concealed carry licenses of residents in 29 states. Prior to this analysis, it recognized 28 states’ licenses. 21 other states either have weaker standards or do not enter into such agreements. As of today, 32 states recognize Pennsylvania concealed carry licenses – no change for PA residents.
Pennsylvania has entered into updated reciprocity agreements with 13 states to guarantee uniformity and consistency with the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act, the state law governing the process. The Commonwealth has added two recognized states – Idaho and Alabama – and will remove one state, Virginia, after 30-days’ written notice, because its background check requirements are weaker than Pennsylvania’s.
“In order to ensure the standards of our Commonwealth are applied fairly and consistently – to both residents and visitors – we have just concluded an exhaustive, labor-intensive review of our concealed carry reciprocity agreements with every state in the nation,” Attorney General Shapiro said at a press conference today while surrounded by law enforcement at the Office of Attorney General in Harrisburg. “This review will not impact any Pennsylvania resident currently licensed to carry a concealed weapon in our state, nor does it change the qualification requirements. Its goal is to set clear standards and provide law enforcement with resources to enforce our existing firearms laws.”
By statute, reciprocity only applies to resident licenses issued to individuals 21 years of age or older in order to be consistent with Pennsylvania law.
Under Pennsylvania law, in order to obtain a concealed carry license, individuals must:
- Be 21 years or older.
- Be a Pennsylvania resident or have a resident license from their state.
- Apply at your local sheriff’s office or, in Philadelphia, at the Police Commissioner’s office.
- Pass a background check that includes an investigation by a local sheriff, a Pennsylvania State Police background check and a federal background check run through the state police.
The Uniform Firearms Act has named a number of disqualifiers to ensure the safety of all Pennsylvanians that include:
- Criminal conviction for murder, rape, assault, stalking, robbery or drugs.
- Mental health commitment.
- A protection from abuse (PFA) order implicating firearms.
- Domestic violence history.
- Three DUI offenses within five years.
- Illegal alien status (as defined in the statute).
- Dishonorable discharge from the military.
- Fugitive status.
- Or a dangerous character or reputation.
As part of the effort announced today, the Office of Attorney General unveiled a new website with more information and easier to access data about reciprocity laws. The current reciprocity status of each state can be found online at www.attorneygeneral.gov under the “Resources” tab. Previously, more than 100,000 hits occurred on a prior website – showing intense public interest in reciprocity laws.
“We have reviewed the new website, and it provides important tools for our officers on the street,” said Chief Patrick Molloy of Abington Township Police, who attended the news conference. “With the click of a mouse, it will enable officers on the street to make split-second decisions to secure public safety. We’re grateful to Attorney General Shapiro’s office for doing this important work.”
In order to complete the review announced today, the Office of Attorney General sent a comprehensive survey to all 49 other states, conducted research and had discussions to confirm whether that state’s standards for issuing concealed carry licenses matched or exceeded Pennsylvania’s.
“Thank you to our partners in the legislature, the Pennsylvania State Police and all of law enforcement for both making and enforcing these laws, respectively,” Attorney General Shapiro. “We will continue to respect the Second Amendment, while taking steps to better protect Pennsylvania children when they go to school, our families in their communities and all the citizens across our Commonwealth.”
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