Gun owners in Pennsylvania are expressing outraged after the state Attorney General announced that she was closing a loophole that allowed residents who were unqualified for a conceal-carry gun license to mail order permits from Florida.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane on Friday said that gun owners would no longer to be able to use Florida’s more-relaxed rules to obtain a concealed-carry permit in order skirt Pennsylvania’s requirements.
“Our state’s gun traffic and permits should never be bypassed,” Kane explained at a press conference.
A “morals clause” in Pennsylvania’s gun law allowed cities like Philadelphia to reject permits based on “character or reputation” of the applicant. Florida has no such rule, and a loophole allowed Pennsylvania residents to mail order permits from the Sunshine State. A reciprocity agreement between the two states meant that Pennsylvania had to honor the Florida permits.
But a 1995 law gave the Pennsylvania attorney general authority over reciprocity ageements. Kane said that the new rules would not effect the ability of Florida residents to carry handguns in Pennsylvania.
Firearms instructor Richard Oliver told the Philadelphia Daily News that many of the 4,000 Pennsylvania gun owners who obtained Florida permits did so because the requirements in Philadelphia were too restrictive.
“The only place that this seems to become an issue, which they are not saying, is in Philadelphia,” Oliver said. “It’s just a Philly problem, because to get the Philadelphia permit is so crazy.”
“Leave the law-abiding citizens alone or at least understand why we’re in the position we’re in,” he added. “What’s Philadelphia doing that’s making people run to Florida?”
Oliver pointed out that he would continue provide Philadelphia residents with training to obtain conceal-carry permits by mail order from Utah, New Hampshire and Virginia — but he expected Kane to eventually close those loopholes as well.
“The demand is there and I want to satisfy it,” he insisted.
West Hanover Township gun owner Joe Williamson on Sunday told WHTM that closing the loopholes would not make Pennsylvania any safer.
“I think it’s gonna be very minimal at best because criminals don’t follow the law,” he warned. “They’ll carry what they want. They do what they want.”
Watch this video from WHTM, broadcast Feb. 10, 2013.