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Identity & Community

Concealed Weapons Seminar Answers Confused Residents

In 2014, 354,603 handguns were purchased or transferred in Pennsylvania. But that doesn’t mean the buyers could lawfully carry the guns outside of their homes.

Two state representatives are sponsoring a free outreach event Aug. 13 at the Avella Volunteer Fire Department so residents can learn about Pennsylvania’s concealed carry laws. Jim Christiana (R-Beaver, Washington) and Jason Ortitay (R-Washington, Allegheny) said they hope to clear up confusion about firearm rights.

A gun owner must apply separately for a carry license.

“I think sometimes people will have a very specific question about maybe the size of the firearm, how to apply, who’s eligible and who’s not eligible,” Christiana said. “There’s a lot of different idiosyncrasies that can get confusing and burdensome on a website or in a pamphlet.”

Under state law, a sheriff may deny an individual the right to a License to Carry Firearms if there is reason to believe that the character and reputation of the individual are such that they would be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety.

Washington County District Attorney Eugene Vittone will discuss the conceal laws and the Castle Doctrine law, which covers the legal rights for residents during a home invasion.  

Christiana said sometimes his constituents get frustrated trying to get their questions answered by state government officials.

“So, whether they get lost on a website or a state agency puts them on hold, they often times can’t get answers to simple questions. So, these types of events take the answers to them in their backyards.”

The penalties are stiff. Any person who carries a firearm concealed on or about his person except in his home or fixed place of business without a valid license commits a third degree felony, which could carry a mandatory imprisonment of up to seven years.

The seminar can hold 400 seats, 200 from each representative’s constituency who RSVP first.