Citation(s) from the GunPolicy.org literature library
Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 2020 ‘Gun Dealers in Pennsylvania.’ Gun Sales. San Francisco, CA: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 3 December
Dealer Regulations in Pennsylvania
Federal law requires firearms dealers to obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), although resource limitations prevent ATF from properly overseeing all its licensees.
Pennsylvania law requires all retail firearms dealers to be licensed by the state. A license will be revoked if the licensee:
- Fails to conduct business only where designated in the license or at a lawful gun show or meet;
- Fails to display the license on the premises;
- Sells any firearm in violation of Pennsylvania law;
- Sells a firearm to a purchaser without evidence of the purchaser's identity unless the purchaser is personally known to the licensee;
- Fails to keep a record in triplicate of every firearm sold and retain the records for 20 years;
- Displays any firearm where it can be readily seen from outside the premises;
- Fails to store firearms securely when closed for business in the event of a clear and present danger to public safety as declared by the Pennsylvania State Police ("PSP"); or
- Fails to possess all applicable current revenue licenses.
By signing the application for a license to sell firearms, the applicant is acknowledging that if a license is granted, the applicant gives permission to PSP, or their designee, and the issuing authority, to visit the licensee's business location and inspect the premises, records, and documents without a warrant.
When an unlicensed person desires to sell or transfer a handgun or short-barreled rifle or shotgun to another unlicensed person upon the place of business of a licensed dealer, the dealer must follow the procedures for the transfer as if he or she were the seller of the firearm.
All licensed dealers must provide each purchaser a free firearms safety brochure containing a summary of state firearms regulations. The brochures are provided by PSP at no cost to the dealer.
Pennsylvania law only regulates the storage of firearms and ammunition by dealers when closed for business in an area where the Commissioner of PSP has found a clear and present danger to public safety to exist.
Retail firearms dealer licenses are issued by the chief or head of any police force or police department of a city, and, elsewhere, the sheriff of the county, and are valid for three years…
[Editor's note: The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence regularly updates its webpages with new data as US gun regulation evolves state by state. For the most up-to-date information on US gun laws, please refer to the Giffords URL below]