Man charged in slaying had Fla. gun permit

Posted: September 16, 2010

When Marqus Hill was charged with attempted murder in 2005, Philadelphia police revoked his permit to carry a concealed weapon.

So, Hill, 28, applied for and was granted a gun permit from Florida, which must be honored in Pennsylvania because of a concealed-carry agreement between the states, police said.

On Sunday, Hill walked out of a house on Gale Street near B, in Olney, with a loaded gun - as he was licensed to do so with his Florida permit - after seeing some people break into his car, police said. He shot 18-year-old Irving Santana 13 times, killing him, police said.

Santana, of Fisher Street near 9th, and two others had been breaking into cars in the area but weren't armed, police said.

Cops charged Hill, of Marshall Street near Cayuga, with murder and related offenses.

At a news conference yesterday, Deputy Police Commissioner William Blackburn blasted the loophole in state law that allowed Hill to legally carry a gun despite the Police Department's best attempts to stop him.

"If we, in Philadelphia, deny someone the privilege to carry a handgun based on something in their background, they should not then be able to apply online and get a gun permit," Blackburn said. "We would like to have that right reserved for us in the Philadelphia area."

Under conceal-carry reciprocity agreements with several states - police say they most often see Florida permits - Pennsylvanians can apply through the mail for nonresident permits that must be honored here. More than 2,600 state residents have a Florida permit. Philly cops say it allows people who have been denied a gun permit or whose permits have been revoked to circumvent local authorities.

But gun-rights advocates say it's necessary because the Police Department is much stricter on applicants than other counties in the state.

Philadelphia granted Hill a permit in 2005, Blackburn said, but revoked it later that year when he was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and related offenses, according to court records. Blackburn said the charges were eventually "expunged" but wouldn't elaborate.

Hill appealed the revocation and when his appeal was denied at a hearing in 2008, he became "irate" and assaulted a cop, Blackburn said.

For that outburst, Hill was charged with aggravated and simple assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, but a judge found Hill guilty only of disorderly conduct, according to Blackburn and court records.

Hill's contact with law enforcement and his disorderly conduct charge did not make him ineligible to purchase a gun or to obtain a Florida license.

Philadelphia police revoked his license based on a "character and reputation" clause they rely heavily on when issuing and revoking permits.

State Rep. Bryan Lentz, D-Delaware, who has proposed legislation to close the gun-law "loophole," said that at a House hearing on the matter earlier this year, Hill's case was cited as an example of why the loophole should be closed.

"And here the saga continues," he said. "Now, this individual is being charged with murder."

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