Pennsylvania's Concealed Carry Authority: Closing the "Florida Loophole"
THE BOTTOM LINE: Pennsylvania should have the authority to set and enforce its own gun laws, especially when it comes to carrying concealed and loaded firearms in public. Until recently, loopholes in state law allowed Pennsylvania residents who are denied a Pennsylvania concealed carry permit, or who would not be eligible for one, to obtain one from one of several other states and use it to carry here. In early February, Attorney General Kathleen Kane renegoiated our reciprocity agreement with Florida so that Pennsylvania residents cannot use a Florida permit to carry concealed in Pennsylvania. Now the gun lobby is trying to make reciprocity a national requirment, undermining Pennsylvania's sovereignty and local law enforcement's authority.
THE FACTS: In most of Pennsylvania, local county sheriffs are responsible for the administration of concealed carry permits, including coordination with local police to determine the risk associated with allowing each applicant to carry a hidden, loaded gun in public places.
But people who have had a Pennsylvania concealed carry permit revoked, application denied, or know they would be found ineligible for a permit if they applied at all - had discovered a loophole that allowedthem to apply for a permit from another state with which Pennsylvania shares reciprocity, and use that permit to carry concealed here.
About 4,000 Pennsylvania residents have been granted concealed carry permits by the Florida Department of Agriculture. Many of those permits have been discovered in the possession of Pennsylvania residents who were denied a PA permit, or had their PA permit revoked by PA police.
A tragic example is Philadelphia resident Marqus Hill, whose PA concealed carry permit was revoked after his involvement with a shooting. When a judge denied his appeal to restore the permit, Hill attacked a police officer in the courthouse. A year later, when Hill sent an application for a concealed firearms permit to Florida, their Department of Agriculture was unaware of his dangerous past, and issued him a permit.
Less than a year after that, Hill murdered a teenager using a firearm he carried with that Florida permit.
Attorney General Kane closed the "Florida Loophole" to insure that only Pennsylvania residents, who meet Pennsylvania standards for concealed carry, are allowed to do so in our communities. We must ensure that this loophole stays closed.
Making matters worse - there is an attempt to pass federal legislation that would force Pennsylvania to accept concealed carry permits issued by any other state in the nation. This change would fundamentally undermine Pennsylvania police, sheriffs, and legislators who work together to create a system of concealed carry guidelines, apply them, and enforce them.
By forcing Pennsylvania to accept permits from other states, Congress would enable the governments of other states to override the judgment of our own. This severely endangers the safety of Pennsylvania residents and police officers whose duty it is to screen and evaluate permits.
STAND WITH US: If you agree that managing concealed carry permits should be left up to individual states, join nearly 100,000 Americans who have already voiced their concerns about Congress' deadly proposal.
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Who can have a gun in Philadelphia. Often Florida Decides
Because Pennsylvania and Florida have a reciprocal agreement to respect each other's gun licenses, local police are compelled to honor his permit, despite their opposition. Legislation pending in Congress - and endorsed by a majority of House members - would extend the reciprocity nationwide.
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EDITORIAL: Right to carry bill is a sad commentary on safety
In short, it would nullify states’ rights to restrict who within the state should be permitted to carry a concealed weapon. People who obtain gun permits from places like Stearns’ home state of Florida where the process is relatively easy, would be free to carry their concealed weapons in any state.
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This gun legislation should be shot down
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