February 8, 2013: District Attorney Seth Williams today praised Attorney General Kathleen Kane for closing the so-called Florida Gun Loophole. “This loophole has effectively undermined Pennsylvania law concerning the issuance of concealed carry permits,” said District Attorney Williams. “Pennsylvanians who have had concealed carry permit applications denied, had their permits revoked, or are otherwise ineligible for a permit have nonetheless received permits from other states and lawfully used them here in Pennsylvania. This practice constitutes a serious threat to the safety of all Pennsylvanians. “
Mr. Williams also noted that “fundamentally, this is an issue about states rights. Why would we allow officials in another state to decide which Pennsylvanians may carry a concealed weapon in Pennsylvania? 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.”
The Florida Loophole has allowed Pennsylvanians to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon from another state when they may otherwise be unable to obtain a permit from Pennsylvania. In doing so it has allowed Pennsylvanians whose concealed carry permits have been denied or revoked or who are otherwise ineligible to obtain permits in the first place have nonetheless received permits from other states and lawfully used them here in Pennsylvania. It is called the “Florida Loophole” because Florida is most often the source state for the permit, and the “loophole” recently attributed to at least one death in Philadelphia.
In September of 2010, 18-year-old Irving Santana was shot 13 times in the Olney section of the city by Marqus Hill. Hill claimed the teen was breaking into his car at the time. Hill was denied a permit to carry a gun in Pennsylvania, but was able to receive a permit from Florida. The Honorable Glenn Bronson sentenced Hill to 8 to 20 years in prison for the death of Irving Santana. In 2011, Philadelphia had more residents with Florida permits per capita than any state, except Florida. According to an analysis by the Philadelphia Inquirer there has been a threefold increase in the number of Florida permits issued to Philadelphians in the past five years, with many of those permits going to areas plagued by heavy drug traffic.
“I am extremely pleased that General Kane listened to law enforcement and did the right thing,” continued the DA. “I congratulate her on her outstanding leadership in quickly closing this dangerous loophole.”