Despite an ongoing buzz for almost a year now, it occurred to me that some of my blog readers may still not be aware of some soon-to-happen changes, both in Pa. and nationwide.
As of December 17, it will be legal to carry a concealed weapon (if licensed) in Pa. State Parks. As we've seen before, the final language of the statute is a bit murky, so it's unclear if open carry is permissible, even for licensed individuals. This may end up being answered in court at some point, if two stubborn parties with opposing views cross paths. In the mean time, we've gained at least a small step in the right direction.
Further, there has been a debate for quite some time concerning the concealed carry of firearms on National Park lands. The decision has been made, and will take effect as soon as it is officially published in the federal register. No estimated date on that yet.
For National Park lands, individuals appropriately licensed, will be permitted to legally carry a concealed firearm while on National Park lands. This applies only outdoors. Federal buildings remain off limits per 18 U.S.C. 930, and would literally take an act of Congress to change. It's beyond the scope of the Department of Interior. Open carry (licensed or not) is still prohibited, but the rule only requires that an individual "must have actual authority to possess those loaded and concealed firearm under state law", so persons exempt from licensing under Pa. law can still legally take advantage of that exemption on National Park lands.
Unfortunately, our own state legislature did not grasp this concept, extending the new permission in State Parks only to "Licensees" or law enforcement officers.
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