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Pennsylvania has made modest improvements to its gun safety laws in recent years, but can do much more to protect residents from gun violence.

Pennsylvania requires background checks on all handgun sales, including at gun shows, but does not extend this requirement to long guns including assault rifles. In 2020, Pennsylvania had the 20th-lowest gun death rate in the country and 15th-lowest gun export rate. In addition to expanding its background checks laws, Pennsylvania legislators should strengthen the state’s background checks law, increase investments in community violence intervention programs, and pass an extreme risk protection law.

What Pennsylvania Does Well

  • Universal background checks for handguns
  • Domestic violence gun laws
  • Extended background check period
  • State database background checks
  • Disarming procedures
  • Gun dealer regulation
  • Partial state firearm sale records retention
  • Community violence intervention funding

What Pennsylvania Is Missing

  • Universal background checks for long guns
  • Gun owner licensing
  • Extreme risk protection orders
  • Assault weapon restrictions
  • Large capacity magazine ban
  • Waiting periods
  • Strong concealed carry law
  • Open carry regulations
  • Child access prevention laws
  • Preempts local gun laws



The data is clear: states with stronger gun laws have less gun violence. See how your state compares in our annual ranking.

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We’re in this together. To build a safer America—one where children and parents in every neighborhood can learn, play, work, and worship without fear of gun violence—we need you standing beside us in this fight.