Sen. Farnese livid over ‘back-door’ concealed-carry gun legislation
When newly-elected Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced the closure of the Florida loophole in February, she knew she was pissing a ton of people off.
The loophole, which had been around since September 2001, allowed Pennsylvania residents denied a concealed-carry gun permit to travel to Florida, get a permit there, come back, and use it here. It was a hard point of contention during the 2010 election, though Gov. Corbett often cast complaints aside as a solution in search of a problem. The law officially went into effect June 8th.
Now, state Senator Richard Alloway (R-Adams) wants to ease the application process for carrying a concealed firearm, similar to what the Florida loophole did—except instead of ambiguity between states, it’d be between counties.
“This is very similar [to the Florida loophole],” says state Sen. Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia). “What it would do is allow someone denied a permit in Philadelphia or any county—if you go to an adjacent county, you can get a permit there or possibly shop around and look for the most lenient enforcement jurisdiction there and come back and walk around Philadelphia [with a concealed weapon].”
Farnese has spent a great deal of time fighting for stronger gun laws in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania as a whole.
Alloway’s legislation would allow applicants to apply for a concealed-carry permit (CCP) with a sheriff or chief-of-police in a contiguous county—so, in Philly, residents could apply in Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware or Chester if denied a permit in the city. Under current law, which went into effect on June 8th after Kane’s loophole closure, applications must be submitted in the place where applicants live.
The potential legislation is currently being sent around by state Sen. Richard Alloway (R-Adams) and he’s calling it “Application for a License to Carry a Firearm from County Sheriffs or Sheriffs of Contiguous Counties.” Being in the co-sponsorship memo phase, Alloway is still looking for support from his colleagues.
Which won’t be too tough. Most Pennsylvania Republicans never wanted the Florida loophole closed in the first place. She “really overstepped the bounds of her authority,” noted state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) after Kane took action.
Records showed about 4,000 Pennsylvanians had obtained CCP through the Florida loophole when it was law of the land.
Many argue that Philadelphia uses a harsher process when granting CCPs, making such loopholes relevant in the first place. Unlike most Pennsylvania counties, in which applications for a CCP is handled by the local sheriff’s department, Philadelphia’s are handled by the Gun Permits and Tracking Unit of the Philadelphia Police Department. Philadelphia also requires citizens to submit their application in person and the applicant may be subjected to an interview.
“If a citizen feels Philadelphia is violating his or her rights, then I want to afford them the opportunity to go to an adjacent county and make application there, pay the fee and get the opportunity for a permit to carry,” Alloway noted to a news organization local to his district. He also called Philadelphia “anti-gun.”
According to Farnese, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
“They think that Philadelphia is anti-gun and anti-second amendment, and they’re totally wrong,” he says. “What we want is to stop criminals from getting guns and running around on the streets and killing people. That’s our concern.”
He additionally notes that Philadelphia is in a unique situation compared to the rest of the state.
“I am very concerned about the legislation itself, that it will erode away any progress we’ve made in Philadelphia in addressing gun violence,” he continues, noting: “There is the potential of Philadelphia to have laws pushed upon it by legislators outside Philadelphia, and, quite frankly, they do not understand the unique situation we have here in the city with this epidemic of gun violence.” There were 331 murders in Philadelphia last year. There have been 110 total so far this year, according police statistics.
“There’s no reason Philadelphia should not be able to control their own process for evaluating and dispersing their permits,” the senator adds. “Let’s face it, this is worse than the Florida loophole.”
Follow Randy on Twitter: @RandyLoBasso