To carry a handgun concealed in public, an individual must possess a valid PA License to Carry Firearms (LTCF, 18 PA.C.S. § 6106) or an equivalent license issued by a state that PA honors (See PA Attorney General Reciprocity Agreements for up to date reciprocity agreements and my blog posting on reciprocity).
1.) in one’s home,
2.) fixed place of business,
3.) and on private property where permission has been given (18 PA.C.S. § 6106).
Moreover, an individual cannot carry a handgun in a vehicle without a valid PA LTCF or an equivalent license issued by a state that PA honors (18 PA.C.S. § 6106). Nevertheless, an individual with a LTCF is NOT required to carry concealed; he/she may carry openly, including in cities of the first class, such as Philadelphia. Under the PA Uniform Firearms Act (UFA), PA resident LTCF are issued by the county sheriff of the jurisdiction in which the applicant resides. Nonresidents licenses are issued by select county sheriff offices.
PA is a “shall issue” state, meaning that the appropriate sheriff must issue the license, unless the applicant is prohibited. There are also places which are off-limits in PA, when concealed carrying. These include:
1.) All Federal Facilities (Unless Authorized);
2.) All Court Facilities;
3.) State Parks (except while in a vehicle); (This was amended by 6109(m.2), which now permits the carrying of a concealed weapon while in a state park)
4.) Adult and Juvenile Detention Facilities; and
5.) Airport Terminals (secure areas only)
The issue of both open and concealed carry on school property has not been determined. Per 18 PA.C.S. 912, possession of “a weapon in the buildings of, on the grounds of, or in any conveyance providing transportation to or from any elementary or secondary publicly-funded educational institution, any elementary or secondary private school licensed by the Department of Education or any elementary or secondary parochial school” is a misdemeanor of the first degree. However, the statute allows for “a defense that the weapon is possessed and used in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity or course or is possessed for other lawful purpose.”
There is a Pennsylvania State Police newsletter regarding CCW on/in school zones. It gives an example of a PA concealed license permit as being an exception to the federal law; however, there is no definitive answer at this time. You may like to read page 3 of the PSP newsletter regarding CCW on/in a school zone, which can be located here.
It should be noted that PA allows the concealed (with a LTCF) or open carry of a firearm in an establishment that sells or serves alcohol.