Legal Self Defense Weapons in Pennsylvania 2020 – Concealed Carry Law (2023)

Knowing the best ways to secure and guard yourself is always going to be the best protection. Taking care to always be aware of your environment and be observing for potentially dangerous situations may help you to keep away from becoming the victim of a violent crime. Keeping legal protective weapons close by can also help you to defend yourself against an attacker or instigator.

Here are the Legal Self-Defense Weapons in Pennsylvania

  • Pepper Spray
  • Bear Spray
  • Stun Guns
  • Firearms
  • Knives
  • Tactical Pens

Pepper Spray is legal in Pennsylvania

Legal Self Defense Weapons in Pennsylvania 2020 – Concealed Carry Law (1)

Ppper spray is a lachrymatory agent (a chemical compound that irritates the eyes to cause a burning sensation, pain, and temporary blindness) used in policing, riot control, crowd control, and self-defense. Pennsylvania has no limitations on the lawful use of pepper spray. Most of the pepper spray regulations in Pennsylvania are federal. Bear spray would follow on the same statutes.

However, Pennsylvania does have some pepper spray laws in addition to the federal laws, these include:
Restrictions on mailing pepper spray or ordering it online.
Not allowed within the building by civilians or commercial planes.

To summarize, here the basic elements that you need to know:

  • You must be a minimum of 18 years old
  • For self-defense purposes only
  • It is legal to buy, carry or use pepper spray in Pennsylvania
  • Cannot have any convicted assault on record

Stun Guns are Legal in Pennsylvania

Legal Self Defense Weapons in Pennsylvania 2020 – Concealed Carry Law (2)

A stun gun is a device used to immobilize an attacker without causing serious injury, typically by administering an electric shock. The stun gun is a deadly weapon that you can legally carry in Pennsylvania. Nevertheless, you can only carry them when owned exclusively for the purpose of self-defense. In the city of Philadelphia, you must be at least 18 years of age to have a stun gun. In addition, under the Pennsylvania constitution, if you are a person prohibited from owning, or transferring a firearm, you are also prohibited from owning a stun gun, for any cause.

Stun Gun Regulations:

  • Individuals who have been arbitrated unskillful
  • juvenile delinquents
  • Individuals illegally present in the United States
  • Declared delinquent and refugee from justice, and
  • Individual who have a protection order against them that requires them to renounce weapons to the court

Here some of the regulations that you can refer to:
18 Pa.C.S. § 908.1

Title 18 Pa.C.S. Crimes and Offenses

Part I. Preliminary Provisions

Chapter 9. Inchoate Crimes
§ 908.1. Use or possession of electric or electronic incapacitation device(a) Offense defined.–Except as set forth in subsection (b), a person commits an offense if the person does any of the following:
(1) Uses an electric or electronic incapacitation device on another person for an unlawful purpose.

(2) Possesses, with intent to violate paragraph (1), an electric or electronic incapacitation device.

(b) Self defense.–A person may possess and use an electric or electronic incapacitation device in the exercise of reasonable force in defense of the person or the person’s property pursuant to Chapter 5 (relating to general principles of justification) if the electric or electronic incapacitation device is labeled with or accompanied by clearly written instructions as to its use and the damages involved in its use.

(c) Prohibited possession.–No person prohibited from possessing a firearm pursuant to section 6105 (relating to persons not to possess, use, manufacture, control, sell or transfer firearms) may possess or use an electric or electronic incapacitation device.


Philadelphia Code § 10-825

Title 10. Regulation of Individual Conduct and Activity

Chapter 10-800. Safety

  • 10-825. Stun Guns.

(1) Definitions.

(a) Stun Gun. Any device which expels or projects a projectile which, upon coming in contact with a person, is capable of inflicting injury or an electric shock to such person.

(2) Prohibited Conduct. No person shall own, use, possess, sell or otherwise transfer any “stun gun”.

(3) Penalty. Any person violating any provision of this Section shall be subject to a fine of not more than three hundred (300) dollars and/or imprisonment for not more than ninety (90) days.

Carrying Firearms in Pennsylvania

Legal Self Defense Weapons in Pennsylvania 2020 – Concealed Carry Law (3)

Carrying a firearm in Pennsylvania is legal if you have a license. You can apply for a license in the county where you reside.

Who can apply for a Pennsylvania License to Carry?

  • An individual who is 21 years of age or older
  • Individuals who are 21 years of age or older and are NOT Pennsylvania residents

The sheriff has 45 days to conduct an investigation to determine an individual’s eligibility to be issued a license. Included in the investigation is a background check conducted on the individual through the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) to determine if the records indicate the individual is prohibited by law. “18 PA C.S. §6109, 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.

There exceptions to carrying a firearm without a Pennsylvania License to Carry. Below are some of the exceptions outlined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 6106:

  1. Constables, sheriffs, prison or jail wardens, or their deputies, policemen of this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions, or other law-enforcement officers.
  2. Members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard of the United States or of the National Guard or organized reserves when on duty.
  3. The regularly enrolled members of any organization duly organized to purchase or receive such weapons from the United States or from this Commonwealth.
  4. Any persons engaged in target shooting with a rifle, pistol, or revolver, if such persons are at or are going to or from their places of assembly or target practice and if, while going to or from their places of assembly or target practice, the firearm is not loaded.

For a list of the state licenses/permits recognized by the Attorney General under §6106(2)(b)(15), and for more information regarding the carrying of firearms in Pennsylvania, please

Owning a Knife in Pennsylvania is Legal

Legal Self Defense Weapons in Pennsylvania 2020 – Concealed Carry Law (4)

Knives have a multitude of uses including for protection, the Pennsylvania state, and federal governments have passed laws regulating what kinds of knives can be purchased, transported and carried. Pennsylvania’s law prohibits any “dagger, knife, razor or cutting instrument” that blade is “exposed in an automatic way by switch, push-button, [or] spring mechanism.” The code prohibits the possession of instruments used “for the infliction of serious bodily injury which serves no common lawful purpose.”


  • Dagger
  • Razor and Boxcutters
  • Butterfly Knife
  • Bowie
  • Pocket Knife


  • Ballistic Knife
  • Gravity or Paratrooper Knife
  • Switchblade

Related: Best Self Defense Weapons for Everyday Carry

Tactical Pens are Legal in Pennsylvania

Legal Self Defense Weapons in Pennsylvania 2020 – Concealed Carry Law (5)

Tactical Pens are legal and can be owned in Pennsylvania. After all the tactical pen’s main use is for writing and sometimes for drawing. Aside from its principal use, this can also become a very lethal weapon against an aggressor.

As civilians, we should have protection and a defense weapon. Bringing a tactical pen as an everyday carry self-defense tool is very ideal since it doesn’t require any sort of license to carry and is quite inconspicuous. Here’s a coupon to get the strike pen for free, just pay for shipping.

Batons may be Illegal to Posses in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania makes it illegal to own, manufacture, or sell batons within its borders. The city of Philidelphia has its own statutes. Based on my research you’re better off not having a baton there. In the rest of the State, it’s legality is vague. There’s no law specifically prohibiting it except in an offensive manner. I’ll paste that statue below.

“Offensive weapons.” Any bomb, grenade, machine gun, sawed-off shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches, firearm specially made or specially adapted for concealment or silent discharge, any blackjack, sandbag, metal knuckles, dagger, knife, razor or cutting instrument, the blade of which is exposed in an automatic way by switch, push-button, spring mechanism, or otherwise, any stun gun, stun baton, taser or other electronic or electric weapon or other implement for the infliction of serious bodily injury which serves no common lawful purpose.

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