Can You Shoot on Your Property in Pennsylvania?

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Pennsylvania is an open carry state. This means that its residents are allowed to carry their weapons without a permit.

However, the gun laws in Philadelphia are quite different. While you can open carry your weapon across other cities in the state, you will need a permit to carry in Philadelphia.

Not to worry, regulation of firearms ownership and use is common not just in Pennsylvania but across the entire country. And with such regulations, people wonder if it is legal to shoot on private property.

Keep reading and find out.

Can You Shoot on Your Property in Pennsylvania?

It is permissible by law to shoot on your property in Pennsylvania. Theft, burglary and robbery are the most common property crimes in Pennsylvania.

And because your home is an investment that needs to be protected from such crimes, the law allows you to use self-defense where need be.

A person wearing soldier equipment while holding and aiming a rifle

Pulling the trigger at every invader or trespasser is however not encouraged in the state. In as much as I don’t like unfamiliar faces around my homes, I also should not be too quick to shoot at every stranger I see. Doing so is considered an abuse of your right to own a firearm and this could lead to your permit being revoked.

Trespassing is punishable by law, so, where possible, turn them into the police. At the end of the day, it is unlawful to use deadly force without reason. Additionally, the state will hold you accountable for any malicious or careless discharge of firearms.

Can You Use Firearms for Hunting in Pennsylvania?

Hunting is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the state. The old and the young, men and women; they all take pride in their hunting culture.

So, yes. The state allows use of handguns for hunting purposes. However, note that the state prohibits use of both automatic and semi-automatic rifles for any hunting adventures.

A person holding down a red sniper hunting rifle

Parents and guardians are reminded to closely monitor their children while hunting. And only those above the age of 12 can be allowed to use a handgun (under supervision).

Purchasing a Firearm in Pennsylvania

Before you can purchase a firearm, there are requirements stipulated by law that you must meet:

  • Background checks are conducted for all who want to be gun owners in the state. That said, please note that you have to be above the age of 18 for you to purchase a long gun in Pennsylvania.
  • For handguns, the age requirement is 21 years and above unless the handgun was gifted by a parent or guardian to a young adult above 18 years old.
  • It takes more than just age for you to qualify as a firearm purchaser in the state. If you wish to be legally armed, aside from remembering the safety, you should not have a criminal record. Anyone who has been convicted of a felony or crimes involving violence does not qualify to purchase any firearm.
  • Another factor that can deny you the opportunity to be armed is drug and substance addiction. If you have a history of drug addiction or a recent DUI, you will not be able to buy a firearm in the good state of Pennsylvania.
  • Undocumented persons who are in the state illegally do not qualify for firearm purchase or even ownership of such weapons.
  • Purchase of firearms for persons who are mentally ill is also prohibited.


There you have it. Some basic information that is meant to guide you on how to handle a firearm around your home. Do not be caught on the wrong side of the law.

James Forrester is a lifelong gun and firearms owner, and an even bigger advocate for gun safety. He created with the purpose of sharing helpful tips and educating others on how to keep guns and weapons safe and secure.