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 allowed them 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 had been granted concealed carry permits by the Florida Department of Agriculture. Many of those permits had 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A tragic example is Philadelphia resident Marqus Hill, whose PA concealed carry permit was revoked after his involvement with a shooting.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 using that Florida permit.
THE GOOD NEWS: 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. In early February 2013, Attorney General Kathleen Kane renegotiated our reciprocity agreement with Florida so that Pennsylvania residents cannot use a Florida permit to carry concealed in Pennsylvania. During the past year, she has renegotiated agreements with other states as well. This means that Pennsylvania residents must meet Pennsylvania standards to obtain a Pennsylvania concealed carry permit and to carry concealed firearms in Pennsylvania.
MORE TO DO? Yes! We must ensure that this loophole stays closed. There are efforts to “undo” the Attorney General’s good work as well as efforts to totally eliminate the requirement that Pennsylvanians obtain concealed carry permits. In addition, 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. Attorney General Kane has joined the Attorneys General of other states to oppose this legislation.