Lentz says Sunday shooting highlights need to close gun permit loopholeH.B. 2536 would have prevented shooter from legally carrying weapon with Fla. permit
SWARTHMORE, Sept. 15 – State Rep. Bryan R. Lentz, D-Delaware, said a weekend homicide in Philadelphia highlights the need for his legislation to close a loophole that allows an individual to carry a gun with an out-of-state permit, even if he or she was denied a gun permit in Pennsylvania.
At a news conference Wednesday, Philadelphia Deputy Police Commissioner William Blackburn said Marquis Hill will be charged with murder for allegedly shooting 18-year-old Irving Santana 13 times in the 300 block of East Gale Street on Sunday.
“Hill’s Philadelphia gun permit was revoked in 2005 because he was charged with attempted murder, and subsequent to the revocation, he was even charged with assaulting a police officer,” Lentz said. “But he was still able to circumvent the system by obtaining a Florida gun permit in 2009, even though he has no ties to that state. My legislation would prevent individuals like this, who are clearly prone to violence, from legally carrying firearms on the street. Until that happens, people will continue to abuse this technicality in the law for dangerous and lethal purposes.”
Lentz’s bill (H.B. 2536) would prohibit Pennsylvania residents from carrying a firearm if they have been denied a “license to carry” by the Commonwealth. He explained that state law provides an opportunity for Pennsylvania residents to legally carry a firearm in the Commonwealth even when they have been denied or revoked a license to carry by Pennsylvania authorities.
Current law allows a person to carry a firearm if he or she possesses a valid license or permit issued by another state — regardless of whether a reciprocity agreement exists between the Commonwealth and that state.
Lentz explained that Pennsylvania residents who have been denied or revoked a license to carry have used this caveat to purchase a license in another state like Florida.
“This is not a threat to the Second Amendment,” Lentz added. “This is about giving local authorities the tools they need to retain control over the permit process and ensuring that Pennsylvania residents who are granted a license to carry have met the standards of our state and not those of another state. A law-abiding gun owner should understand that individuals who exploit the permit system for criminal intentions are a disservice to people who wish to carry for legal and legitimate reasons.”
Lentz is a former prosecutor with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.