Pennsylvania attorney general closes Florida gun loophole

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February 11, 2012

By Maresa Strano


HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania: In her administration's "first official step" toward improving state gun safety law, Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced on Feb. 8 that Pennsylvania has closed a loophole within its concealed-carry reciprocity agreement with Florida.[1] Commonly referred to as the "Florida Gun Loophole," a Pennsylvanian who was denied a concealed-carry permit or had his or her in-state permit revoked has been allowed to obtain an equally valid license from Florida per the terms of the states' reciprocity agreement. Put in place twelve years ago when the agreement was first established, Kane closed the loophole by negotiating with Florida officials on a new version of the agreement under which Pennsylvania residents holding Florida-issued permits are required to apply for a Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearm (LCTF). The modified agreement retains "all the same rights and recognition" of aptly licensed Florida residents, however, to carry a firearm in Pennsylvania on the condition they can produce immediate verification of their Florida residency.

Pennsylvania currently holds agreements with 28 states. This includes Florida, where even beyond the updated agreement's implementation, Pennsylvania residents will continue to find their Pennsylvania-issued concealed-carry permits honored in full.[2][3]

In the aftermath of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, public officials across the United States were forced to answer for their states' gun safety policies and reiterate their stances on gun-rights; Some leaders used the platform to rebuke their gun control policies as insufficient, while others' sounded of their excess.[4]

One month prior to the shooting, Kane became the first Democrat and woman elected attorney general in the state's history, having won on a series of campaign promises which included buckling down on enforcement of Pennsylvania's public safety laws. Before she was sworn into office, she collaborated with sitting attorneys general such as New York's Eric Schneiderman and California's Kamala D. Harris on a letter to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urging them to oppose two bills - The National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act and The Respecting States’ Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act - that would make states recognize concealed carry permits issued by any other states. "These bills would create a lowest common denominator approach to public safety that would endanger police and make it more difficult to prosecute gun traffickers," the letter warned.[5] According to Kane, a former Lackawanna prosecutor, closing the Florida loophole - which nullifies Florida-issued gun permits for 4,000 Pennsylvania residents unless they can prove they are eligible for Pennsylvania-issued permits before June 8, 2013 - "shows that it is possible to swiftly implement common sense gun safety measures that protect our streets."[6]

The Attorney General of Pennsylvania was authorized by the General Assembly in 1995 to enter into reciprocity agreements with other states.[2]

See also


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