Coronavirus and Your Right to Carry in Pennslyvania

States of Emergency, quarantines, and disaster declarations can bring fear and panic for everyone, due to the uncertainty surrounding them. When state governments throughout the U.S. have varying policies regarding how your rights change, it can be confusing for anyone to fully understand their freedom during these times.

When it comes to your firearms, be assured that we will keep you up to date on any changes in the law that impact your rights. 

As for general Coronavirus updates and local and national conditions, the news on these restrictions is coming fast and furious across the nation. Please follow state, local, and national news, as this information can change by the day and hour.

COVID-19 has reached Pennsylvania and in response, Governor Wolf has signed an emergency disaster declaration. This emergency disaster declaration also paves the way for the possibility of a quarantine. A federal State of Emergency has already been declared.

So, what do we need to know about the potential effect on our gun rights in Pennsylvania?

Firearm Confiscation

First, let’s talk about federal law. A lot of us remember the firearms confiscation that took place in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans Superintendent Eddie Compass declared, “only law enforcement will be able to have weapons.”

Realizing just how wrong this was, Congress acted swiftly, enacting 42 U.S.C. Section 5207. This law basically precludes the government, people acting on behalf of the government, or people receiving federal funds from making up gun regulations as they go along, during a major disaster or an emergency. There are some exceptions, but the law prohibits confiscation or registration, unless it would be authorized absent the disaster or emergency. It also generally forbids limitations on possession or carry, if it’s not otherwise prohibited under federal, state, or local law. The law makes it clear that violators can be sued in court, and if a person succeeds in this kind of lawsuit, the government has to pay their attorney fees.

With that in mind let’s discuss Pennsylvania law.

Your Right to Carry

Pennsylvania Crimes Code § 6107 provides a similar protection: “No firearm, accessory or ammunition may be seized, taken or confiscated during an emergency unless the seizure, taking, or confiscation would be authorized absent the emergency.” But, section 6107 also provides specific restrictions on carry during a State of Emergency stating: “No person shall carry a firearm upon the public streets or upon any public property during an emergency proclaimed by a State or municipal governmental executive.”

This prohibition doesn’t apply if you’re actively defending your life or property from peril or threat. So, if a dangerous looter breaks into your house, you get into a gunfight for your life and it spills out onto the street, you’d be exempt. The prohibition also doesn’t apply if you have a License to Carry Firearms or if you’re exempt from licensing under § 6105(d).

For questions on what to do in the event of a State of Emergency, contact U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.

Not yet a member of U.S. LawShield? Click here to activate now

First Aid for Gunshot Wounds 2A Institute

Comment section

11 comments on “Coronavirus and Your Right to Carry in Pennslyvania

  1. If you have a concealed carry permit can you carry in your vehicle and on your person during this state emergency?

    • Hello, please see the response from a Pennsylvania Independent Program Attorney:

      “The Pennsylvania state of emergency restrictions in 18 Pa.C.S. 6107 do not apply to people who have a License to Carry Firearms. If you have a License to Carry Firearms, you can legally carry a handgun your person or in a vehicle the same as during a non-emergency.”

  2. Awesome information!! Keep up the great work.

  3. Does the emergency declaration change the regulation on defending property with deadly force? I am referring to this line, “Actively engaged in a defense of that person’s life or property from peril or threat.” Typically we are told at the seminars it is not allowed to use deadly force to stop someone from say stealing your car if you or another person is not in that car. That line in the law seems to go against that. I am a member for about 3 or 4 years now and have been to many seminars. Thank you for your upcoming answer.

    • Hello Charles, please see the response from a Pennsylvania Independent Program Attorney.

      “Excellent question, but the standard for the use of deadly force does not change. The article is discussing the standard for lawful carry, not the lawful use of force or deadly force. The restrictions on carrying a firearm in public during a state of emergency do not apply if a person is “Actively engaged in a defense of that person’s life or property from peril or threat.” This is a direct quote from 18 Pa.C.S. 6107. It does not, however, provide any new justification for using a firearm, or using deadly force in general. Keep in mind that the carry restrictions also do not apply to anybody who has a License to Carry Firearms or is exempt from licensing.”

  4. Thank you for the information. With all the stresses at a time like this I do not have the time to research any new laws associated with the state of emergency. It is a good feeling knowing you have my back.

  5. What about someone that lost the right to have a gun…. They still have the right to defend… So does the right to have a gun in the home change

    • Hello Jason, please see the response from a Pennsylvania Independent Program Attorney:

      “Under Pennsylvania and federal law, individuals prohibited from possessing firearms remain prohibited during emergency situations.”

  6. The federal State of emergency was stated u der the Stafford act. It defines the same thing and all the information as to what can and cant go on in an emergency

  7. Due to this virus all county sheriff’s offices are closed to the public – thus I’m unable to apply for and acquire a concealed carry permit. I live in Lebanon County and by State law I have to apply within the county I live in. Lebanon requires an in-person application at the county sheriff’s office in order to obtain a permit.
    Is this in infringement on my second amendment rights?

  8. Can you open carry in bucks county during the covid 19

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.