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how to get a troubled teen back on track

Know Your State's Open Carry Firearm Laws

by Bernard Rice

The state of Texas recently passed a law legalizing the open carry (non-concealed carry) of a handgun without a permit. Even those who are longtime legal gun owners might not realize open carry laws are more common than thought. Unfortunately, not everyone realizes restrictions could exist regarding where you may open carry and that presenting a visible firearm could open the door to other criminal charges.

The Pennsylvania Example

Always know the exact law regarding open carry in the state you reside. Pennsylvania is considered an open carry state, but this is not entirely accurate as two major restrictions exist. Per state law:

  • You may not open carry on your person in your vehicle.
  • Open carry is prohibited in the city of Philadelphia

Ignorance of the law would not offer any protection upon being arrested for open carrying in violation of these two statutes. Even a very good criminal defense lawyer would have a difficult time representing you if you violated these two provisions.  

Possible Additional Charges

Even when your conduct does not violate the open carry laws in your state, publicly displaying a firearm could lead to a run-in with the law. If people noticed you carrying a firearm and called the police, the possibility still exists you may be charged with disturbing the peace and/or disorderly conduct. The possession of the firearm was legal, but the effects of its presence on others ends up leading to a criminal complaint. Being charged with and being found guilty of a summary offense or a first degree misdemeanor brings forth serious issues. A conviction ends giving you a record and is going to show up on any background check performed when you apply for a job, seek to rent property, and so on. Expunging the criminal record could end up being a costly and drawn-out process.

Seek a Concealed Carry Permit

Probably the best advice available is to avoid open carrying in public places. Instead, apply for a concealed carry license and restrict your open carrying to areas where doing so won't cause problems. Open carrying a revolver in the woods known for the presence of bear and other dangerous animals is not likely to raise eyebrows. Walking around the mall with a sidearm during the height of the holiday Christmas season is probably going to cause panic.

If you are not sure about open carry laws or need help applying for a concealed carry permit, contact a criminal law firm that specializes in firearm statutes. To learn more about the law, contact someone like Anggelis & Gordon Attorneys.