School’s out. The vacation time you’ve stocked up on is burning a hole in your pocket, and friends and family are making plans to enjoy the nice weather. It’s summertime in Pennsylvania. Before you head to a swimming pool, beach, lake, or park, make sure you do your homework and know the law—especially if your plans take you beyond the borders of the Keystone state.
EACH STATE HAS DIFFERENT GUN LAWS
Remember, every state has different laws, and you don’t want to see your gun rights wiped out by a simple mistake. Now let’s look at some common mistakes made by Pennsylvania people when it comes to carrying a gun while having fun in the sun.
PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS REIGN SUPREME
Water parks, summer concerts, and outdoor festivals can be a fun family getaway, but these events are usually located on private property that are lawfully entitled to prohibit firearms. If you’re given effective notice at the entrance or while you’re within one of these locations that firearms are not allowed, you should leave the area and secure your firearm before returning.
While “No Gun” signs do not carry the force of law in Pennsylvania, if you’re in violation of those signs, you can be asked to leave and if you refuse to leave, you can be charged with defiant trespass. When it comes to public locations like rivers, lakes, or beaches, you’re generally allowed to carry your handgun open or concealed if you have a valid License to Carry Firearms, as if you were in any other public location.
The next area we receive questions about is carrying in state or national parks. All these areas are considered public places under the law, and with a valid License to Carry Firearms, you may legally carry your handgun.
Keep in mind, however, you will be prohibited from carrying your firearm into the national park buildings and facilities. City parks are also considered public places. With a valid License to Carry Firearms, you may carry there also.
However, Philadelphia has separate rules and carry in city parks in Philadelphia is prohibited. While this law may be overturned due to state preemption laws, we recommend you don’t carry in city parks in Philadelphia unless you want to be the test case. Please don’t be the test case.
BE A RESPECTFUL GUEST
What if you’re invited to a pool party? Well, if the homeowner personally tells you that they’re uncomfortable with your firearm being present (even if you’re helping with the grill), you should respect their wishes and either cut your visit short or secure your firearm in your vehicle or your home, and upon returning to the party, make the biggest cannonball splash possible.
For any questions about carrying while having fun in the sun, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.