What do you do when something happens to your License to Carry Firearms (“LTCF”)? Maybe you let it expire or perhaps you lost your wallet with your LTCF inside it. After you have submitted an application for a replacement LTCF, can you continue carrying while waiting?

If your LTCF is lost or was destroyed before it expired you may apply to the sheriff in your county (or to the Chief of Police for any person living within a City of the First Class) for a replacement. While you are still technically licensed to carry a firearm in Pennsylvania, it is risky to continue carrying a firearm without physically carrying the license. 18 Pa. C.S. § 6122 states:

“When carrying a firearm concealed on or about one’s person or in a vehicle, an individual licensed to carry a firearm shall, upon lawful demand of a law enforcement officer, produce the license for inspection. Failure to produce such license either at the time of arrest or at the preliminary hearing shall create a rebuttable presumption of nonlicensure.”

If you are unable to produce your license in this situation, there will be a presumption that you are unlicensed. While you may be able to rebut this presumption in court by proving you were licensed, this will likely involve you first being arrested.

If your LTCF expired, you should apply for a renewal. While you wait for a renewal LTCF in PA, while again risky, you may actually continue carrying a firearm concealed or within a vehicle under 18 Pa. C.S. § 6106(b)(12) which allows continued carrying for: “A person who has a lawfully issued license to carry a firearm pursuant to section 6109 (relating to licenses) and that said license expired within six months prior to the date of arrest and that the individual is otherwise eligible for renewal of the license.”

Again, under this exception, you may very well be arrested, but will have a defense in court.

Another option would be to open carry. Open carry of handguns is generally legal without a LTCF in Pennsylvania outside any City of the First Class (a city with more than one million residents), which at this time just means the City of Philadelphia. However, keep in mind that any time you are in or upon a motor vehicle in Pennsylvania with a firearm it will be considered concealed, which is generally not allowed without a valid LTCF unless it falls under any other narrow exception, such as when the gun is unloaded and you are going to a place of target practice.

If you have any other questions about replacing a lost or expired LTCF, please call U.S LawShield and ask to speak with your Independent Program Attorney.


The preceding should not be construed as legal advice nor the creation of an attorney-client relationship. This is not an endorsement or solicitation for any service. Your situation may be different, so please contact your attorney regarding your specific circumstances. Because the laws, judges, juries, and prosecutors vary from location to location, similar or even identical facts and circumstances to those described in this presentation may result in significantly different legal outcomes. This presentation is by no means a guarantee or promise of any particular legal outcome, positive, negative, or otherwise.