The Philadelphia Daily News has really outdone themselves this time. We’ve seen the abuse of the term “loophole” to describe perfectly lawful activity the anti-gun groups and anti-gun media want to portray as sneaky, and something that obviously ought to be illegal, but this article really takes the cake.
“They could be disapproved here and they could apply in Florida and we are not notified,” said Philadelphia Police Lt. Lisa King, commander of the Gun Permit Unit. “So if we are not giving them a permit to carry, how is Florida allowed to override our decision?”
District Attorney Seth Williams said that the loophole defeats local efforts to keep streets safe.
“We should not allow Florida to pierce the veil of sovereignty of Pennsylvania,” he said. “This is something I’m going to direct my legislation unit to look into. This is a loophole I think it would be best to close.”
It’s not doing anything about Pennsylvania sovereignty. Pennsylvania has a law that recognizes licenses to carry from other states, and that law makes no distinction between residents and non-residents. If you possess a license from that state, you’re good. What the Inquirer also does not mention is that the requirements for a Florida license are more stringent than Pennsylvania’s, a reason that it’s more widely recognized by other states.
Locally, though, it’s become known as the “Florida loophole” because that’s where most of the out-of-state permits are coming from, according to police and prosecutors.
Locally I’ve never heard that term before. You mean locally around the newsroom? Around CeaseFire PA headquarters?
But CeaseFire PA executive director Joe Grace called the loophole “outrageous” and said that the issue is one his group will push in the upcoming governor’s race, in which Attorney General Tom Corbett is a candidate.
Grace said that the reciprocity law is not unusual, but blamed the loophole on Corbett’s translation of the law.
There’s no mistranslation. Corbett has an affirmative duty under Pennsylvania law to seek out reciprocity with states that are willing. Grace may want to smear Corbett in an election year, but Corbett is only exercising his duty under the law with these agreements. The law makes no provision to denying licensing to non-residents.
“People engaged in criminal activity are smart enough that once they are denied here, they are aware of this law and apply in Florida,” he said. “That’s thwarting the ability of Philadelphia police or any department to police Pennsylvania law.”
If gang members in Philadelphia are paying 123 dollars to the Florida Department of Agriculture, going through the training requirements, getting fingerprinted, and submitting to an FBI background check, I’ll eat my hat. They can point to one guy who ended up charged with a crime. One guy.
Grace cited an example of a Philadelphia man who obtained a Florida license to carry. He was subsequently pulled over in a traffic stop, and not only did he have two handguns on him, but he also had a half-pound of marijuana, numerous other drugs and several thousand dollars in cash.
When the case went to court, prosecutors could not charge the man with any gun violations, Grace said, because of his Florida permit.
Funny thing is, I was aware of this case, and was very, very curious as to its outcome, because there had been no precedent in the courts as to whether a Florida license would actually be recognized in the case where a person was not in possession of a PA LTC but was a resident of PA. The law said it should be, but that doesn’t mean a judge will see the law the same way.
“They mention that they’ve been denied a permit in Philadelphia for everything from parking tickets to child-support payments,” he said. “You may not have a criminal record but you owe some tickets or child support and they deny you when the rest of the state doesn’t.
“That’s not to say I’m for the deadbeat dad, but if you’re behind in your bills are you not allowed to protect yourself?”
Christie Caywood, a member of the Pennsylvania Firearms Owners Association, who spoke on the organization’s behalf, said that Philadelphia’s practice of revoking licenses of victims whose guns have been stolen, and the department’s high permit-revocation rate – 505 last year – send residents to other states.
“It is not surprising that some gun owners may opt for more uniform standards of another state license over the discriminatory abuses of the Philadelphia Police Department,” she said.
I don’t know who this Christie Caywood person is, but she’s a great spokeswoman for PAFOA. It’s the discriminatory abuses in Philadelphia that drive people to get Florida Licenses. I’m very happy that the city wants to push this issue, because we should have this conversation.