ALERT – PA FFLs, PSP Has No Authority To Conduct Inspections

It has recently come to my attention that the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) is conducting compliance inspections of PA Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) without warrants. Unlike the federal law provision found in 18 U.S.C. 923(g)(1)(B)(ii) that provides ATF with the authority to conduct a compliance inspection once every 12 months without a warrant, no similar provision exists in Pennsylvania law. Further, unlike with a Federal Firearms License, where the ATF issues the FFL, in Pennsylvania, it is the county sheriff that issues the Pennsylvania firearms sales license, not the PSP.

Accordingly, the PSP has no authority or jurisdiction, absent a lawfully executed warrant or your consent, to inspect your records or premise. If the PSP comes to your store and demands to review your records, you should immediately inform them that you do not consent to a search of your premise or records and request that they produce a warrant. You should also immediately contact an attorney for representation and anticipate ATF to conduct a compliance inspection in the near future.

If you or a FFL you know is approached by the PSP, you should immediately contact us so that we can ensure your rights are protected. Remember, Rule 1 is never speak with the police and Rule 2 is never consent to a search, even if you believe your records to have been maintained in strict compliance.

8 thoughts on “ALERT – PA FFLs, PSP Has No Authority To Conduct Inspections

    1. All records including ATF 4473s. Even reviewing their own forms, regardless of 37 Pa.Code. 33.116(c), is unlawful, as 6109(m.3) restricts the PSP from regulating inconsistently with the Uniform Firearms Act and the General Assembly NEVER allowed for warrantless searches and inspections. Furthermore, if such was constitutional, then I guess we can assume the PSP can require everyone who obtains an LTCF to consent to searches of their person; PA Department of Motor vehicles can start requiring everyone with a driver’s license to consent to searches of their cars; the Dept of State can require every entity that registers to consent to searches of the business premise; and Department of Revenue can require everyone who files taxes to consent to searches of their financial records….just to name a few.


  1. In the case where the business is operated from the home, are the police governed by the same guidelines as the ATF in that they can only inspect areas directly related to operating of the business/business activities or are they allowed to search the entire premises? Also, are they bound by the hours of operation like the ATF are?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s