Gone Outdoors

How to Apply for a Gun License in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

by Steve Wozniak

Pennsylvania requires no license or permit for its citizens to own or carry rifles or shotguns. Pennsylvanians are free to purchase and own handguns, but to carry them, they must have a license to do so. In Pittsburgh, the Allegheny County Sheriff is required by law to issue licenses to carry a handgun. Regardless of your background or situation, obtaining a gun license in Pittsburgh takes a little time and plenty of documentation.

Load the application for a Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms from the website of the Allegheny County Sheriff. This application will be in PDF format. Type all the required information straight onto the application form. You will need the full names, addresses and contact information for two references who are not family members and live in Pennsylvania. When you've completed the form, save a copy to your desktop and print two copies for records.

Gather your Pennsylvania driver's license or state identification card and at least one secondary form of identification. This can include a voter's registration, vehicle registration, a current W-2 form, hunting or fishing license or a state-issued professional license. The addresses on both forms of identification must be the same.

Make photocopies of the two forms of identification if you will be mailing the application package. If you are emailing your application, copies of the two IDs must be scanned and saved to your computer as a PDF.

Atach the PDF copies of the completed application and the two forms of identification to an email containing the information on your two references. Send this e-mail to firearms@alleghenycourts.us. For a mail application, include the photocopy of the two forms of identification with the application form printed on the front and back of one sheet and send it to: Allegheny County Sheriff's Office ATTN: Firearms 436 Grant Street, Room G8 Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Pick up your gun license by bringing the yellow card you'll receive in the mail from the sheriff's office along with payment to the Firearms Office in Room G8 of the Allegheny County Courthouse. As of summer 2010, the fee for a handgun permit was $25.

Items you will need
  • Valid Pennsylvania driver's license or ID card
  • Secondary identification
  • Information on two references


  • A Pittsburgh law states that if you lose your handgun or have it stolen, you must report the loss or theft to the police within 24 hours or risk incurring steep fines and possible jail time. As of summer 2010, the National Rifle Association was appealing this law.


  • If you are not a U.S. citizen but are living in Allegheny County, you will need to apply in person at the Firearms Office with additional documentation. Along with the two forms of ID and two references, non-citizens must provide their immigration papers or card, their immigration number, and copies of utility bills for the previous three months.
  • While some states check only criminal backgrounds before issuing gun permits, Pennsylvania allows sheriffs to deny applications for permits based only on questionable character.
  • It is unlawful for any person convicted of a crime of violence (murder, rape, assault, burglary, etc.) to own or possess a handgun in Pennsylvania.

About the Author

A native of Pittsburgh, Steve Wozniak has worked as a humor writer, a sports writer, an editor and even scribbled a few ads for big-time clients back in the day. These days, he spends his time contributing to a number of websites, covering the occasional sports event, and penning the next great American novel. He studied communications and theater at University of Notre Dame.

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