It’s important to know what the law says about different locations where firearms are prohibited. Some places are off limits under state law, and others are off limits under federal law. I like to call these places “hot zones.” If we’re carrying, we need to stay away from them.
What the law says
A question I often get is, “Mike, isn’t it illegal to carry a firearm in a bank? Isn’t that a hot zone?” In Pennsylvania, the answer is “no.” There’s no law against carrying a firearm in a bank in Pennsylvania.
Now you might be wondering, “what law says you can carry in a bank?” And, my response to that would be, “what law says you can walk backwards holding a bag of bananas on a Wednesday?” I think it’s safe to say there is no such law. The reason is: the law doesn’t tell us each and every thing that is legal. Instead, it usually just tells us what is illegal.
And in Pennsylvania, there is no law against carrying a firearm in a bank. Similarly, there is no federal law against carrying a firearm in a bank.
Are Banks Federal Buildings?
Isn’t there a law against carrying in a federal facility? Yes. Federal law prohibits firearms within federal facilities where federal employees are stationed. But a bank isn’t a federal facility. Your money might be insured by the federal government, but the bank is not owned by the federal government, and the employees are not employed by the federal government. They’re employed by the bank.
So yes, federal facilities can be hot zones, but the bank isn’t a federal facility.
Keep in mind that a bank is a private business, and a private business has the right to make its own policies. For example, many banks have policies in their banking service agreement which prohibit storing firearms in a safety deposit box. Similarly, if the bank staff notices that you’re carrying and asks you to leave, you have to leave. Otherwise, you’re trespassing.
Know Your Surroundings
Also, depending on where you are, open carry in a bank might raise a few eyebrows from the bank’s employees or customers. Again, it’s not against the law, but it’s very much a practical reality.
Remember that we’re talking specifically about Pennsylvania. Even though there is no Pennsylvania law against having a firearm in a bank, and there’s no federal law against having a firearm in a bank, other states might have state-specific laws prohibiting firearms in banks. Just because it’s not a hot zone here doesn’t mean it can’t be a hot zone somewhere else.
For more information about carrying into a bank or any other facility, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak with your Independent Program Attorney.