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Can a Family Member or Friend Use Your Gun in Pennsylvania?

There are various reasons to let someone borrow your firearm. Maybe you’re bringing your friend on a hunting excursion and they don’t own a rifle. Perhaps you’re looking to lend a family member your pistol for self-defense. Whatever the case, you may wonder if and when you can legally let another person use your gun in Pennsylvania. Luckily, we compiled this article to answer all your pressing questions.

Can a Family Member Use Your Gun in Pennsylvania?

Before handing over your trusty firearm to a family member or friend, ask yourself these questions to determine if lending someone else your gun is lawful.

1. Where Does the Recipient Live?

First, consider where the borrower lives. Per Title 18 Section 922 of the United States Code, you can’t lawfully sell, transfer or give any firearm to a resident of a different state.

There is one exception to this law. It doesn’t apply to the rental or loan of a firearm for temporary, lawful sporting use. So, if your friend or family member visits from another state, you can lend them your gun to shoot recreationally with you, like hunting or target practice. However, you couldn’t lend them your firearm for defensive carrying purposes.

2. What Type of Firearm Are You Loaning?

In Pennsylvania, there’s a fine line between handguns and “long” guns, aka shotguns and rifles. Typically, you can loan a shotgun or rifle to another adult who lives in Pennsylvania. According to the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s Title 18 Section 6115, you can only lend a handgun to someone if the borrower:

  • Has a valid Pennsylvania license to carry firearms or is exempt from licensing requirements.
  • Stays on your property and the firearm does not leave that location.
  • Is part of a hunter safety program certified by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
  • Is part of a firearm training program competition approved by the National Rifle Association.
  • Is lawfully hunting or trapping.

Remember that there are restrictions on loaning National Firearms Act-regulated weapons, like machine guns and short-barreled rifles and shotguns. You can only loan NFA items to people granted permission to possess them in a governing document or trust. Silencers or suppressors are also NFA-controlled devices — you can only lend them to someone physically present and under your supervision.

3. How Old Is the Recipient?

You should also consider the borrower’s age when letting someone else use your firearm in Pennsylvania. Title 18 Section 6110.1 states that the recipient must meet these requirements if they are under 18 years old:

  • They are under the supervision of a legal adult guardian.
  • They are engaging in legal activity, such as target shooting, safety training, hunting and trapping, organized competition or transporting an unloaded firearm for a lawful purpose.

4. Are They Eligible to Possess a Firearm?

Confirm the borrower can legally possess a gun at the state and federal levels before letting them use yours. Even a decades-old felony could preclude someone from lawfully possessing a firearm.

Can I Carry Someone Else’s Gun in Pennsylvania?

You can legally carry someone else’s gun if you meet state and federal requirements. We’ll answer some common questions below to help you determine if you can carry someone else’s gun or let them carry yours.

1. Can My Wife Carry My Gun in Pennsylvania?

Imagine you recently bought a handgun. Your spouse decides to start carrying for self-defense but does not have a firearm. They want to carry yours until they purchase one for themselves. This scenario is perfectly legal.

A common misconception is that you can only carry a gun you bought yourself, but this isn’t the case. If you lawfully purchase and own a firearm, your spouse or another family member can carry it if they meet state and federal laws. However, your family member needs a license to carry firearms if they want to carry concealed.

If you lawfully purchase and own a firearm, your spouse or another family member can carry it if they meet state and federal laws.

2. Can I Carry My Friend’s Gun in Pennsylvania?

You can legally carry your friend’s handgun if you have a valid license. Remember that when you borrow or loan a firearm, it should be temporary. You can’t permanently give someone else your handgun without consulting a Federal Firearms Licensed dealer and completing the transfer process.

Likewise, your friend couldn’t gift you their gun without following these steps. You can’t call an illegal transfer a loan. Pennsylvania law requires all private handgun transfers to go through the sheriff’s office or an FFL dealer. However, there are exceptions for transfers between:

  • Spouses
  • Parents and children
  • Grandparents and grandchildren

Keep in mind that this only applies to handguns. No transfer application is necessary for conventional rifles or shotguns, whether the transfer is between friends or family members.

Other Tips for Loaning Your Firearms

As an extra safety layer, reaching a written agreement with the borrower is also wise. Sign a statement that you are the legal owner of the firearm and have loaned it to them — especially if they’ll use it for an extended period. They should have this contract with them when carrying your firearm.

This statement should specify when they will return the firearm to your possession. It should also state that federal and state laws permit them to possess firearms.

Additionally, always verify the borrower’s intentions before loaning them your gun. For example, you could face penalties as an accomplice if you lend someone your firearm and they use it to commit a crime. Always be cautious about who you lend your weapons to. Ensure you can trust they will use your firearm wisely, safely and lawfully.

Visit Keystone Shooting Center

Visit Keystone Shooting Center

Whether you’re using your firearm or borrowing someone else’s, we invite you to refine your marksmanship and precision at Keystone Shooting Center. We are a world-class, veteran-owned indoor shooting center in Mars, Penn. We’re your one-stop shop for everything firearms, including:

We accept reservations and walk-ins. You can also sign up for one of our membership programs to access perks like gun rental discounts, priority range reservations and discounted classes.

Keystone caters to shooters of all backgrounds and experiences. Come brush up your firing skills in a comfortable, welcoming and judgment-free environment. Reserve your lane at our range today!

Purchased a membership prior to visiting for the first time and was NOT disappointed. Incredibly well-appointed facility, clean and comfortable. Employees were very helpful, and they seem well equipped for both retail and range operations.

Ryan Z.

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