Florida gun loophole closed by Pa. Attorney General

Pennsylvania Attorney Gen. Kathleen Kane, accompanied by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, speaks during a news conference Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, in Philadelphia, as she announces that Pennsylvania officials are closing a gun-law loophole that lets residents get permits online from Florida, sometimes when they can't get them at home. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Pennsylvania Attorney Gen. Kathleen Kane, accompanied by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, speaks during a news conference Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, in Philadelphia, as she announces that Pennsylvania officials are closing a gun-law loophole that lets residents get permits online from Florida, sometimes when they can't get them at home. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Posted: February 09, 2013

The Florida gun loophole, which allowed Philadelphia gun owners to skirt the city's strict handgun-carrying rules, was closed today by Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane. Florida gun permit holders in Pennsylvania now must be legal residents of Florida.

The loophole allowed about 900 city residents to carry a weapon in Philadelphia if they had a mail-order permit issued by Florida.

"Our state's gun traffic and permits should never be bypassed," said Kane in a statement. "Closing this loophole shows that it is possible to swiftly implement common sense gun safety measures that protect our streets. This is my administration's first official step, but it certainly will not be our last."

Many of the permit holders previously were denied carry privileges by Philadelphia Police, which has that discretion under state law.

One of the Florida permit holders faces murder charges for the 2010 killing of a would-be thief in Hunting Park, and other permit holders have been suspected by police of drug dealing.

"This is a significant step toward making Philadelphia, and the entire Commonwealth, safer for all residents," said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. "Modification of the firearm reciprocity agreement with Florida will ensure that all citizens with Concealed Carry Permits in Pennsylvania have met the standards set forth by our great state."

Florida gun permit owners in Pennsylvania have 120 days under the agreement to obtain a Commonwealth-issued concealed carry permit. There are approximately 4,000 Pennsylvanians who have obtained a Florida permit, said Kane.

District Attorney Seth Williams said closing the loophole was an issue of state's rights.

"Why would we allow officials in another state to decide which Pennsylvanians may carry a concealed weapon in Pennsylvania?" Williams said. "General Kane correctly recognizes that it is bad policy to cede important law enforcement decisions to officials who know nothing about Pennsylvania from other states."


Contact staff writer Sam Wood at 215-854-2796, @samwoodiii or samwood@phillynews.com.

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