Onorato, D.A. Seth Williams Call on Tom Corbett to Protect the Public
Philadelphia shooting points to importance of closing ‘Florida Loophole’ that Tom Corbett has failed to address
PHILADELPHIA: Following a Philadelphia shooting allegedly committed by a man whose Pennsylvania permit to carry a concealed weapon had been revoked, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Dan Onorato and Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams again called on Tom Corbett to close the loophole that allowed the suspect to legally carry a concealed firearm using a permit granted by the Florida Department of Agriculture.
“We should never outsource our law enforcement responsibilities,” said Onorato. “Tom Corbett should know better, and he should announce today that he is closing this loophole in order to protect Pennsylvanians. The recent shooting provides yet another wake-up call to Tom Corbett – even though he shouldn’t need one.”
Under the “Florida Loophole,” even when Pennsylvania law enforcement officials deny or revoke a concealed-carry permit because of a history of arrests, domestic violence or substance abuse, the person can carry a concealed weapon by asking Florida for permission. Corbett can close the loophole with 30 days notice simply by dissolving the reciprocity agreement with Florida.
“The Florida loophole is a public safety problem with deadly consequences, and I wish Tom Corbett would end the loophole today. Tom Corbett should demand that only Pennsylvanians determine who carries a gun in our state, not farm administrators in Florida,” said Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams. “I was pleased to stand with Dan Onorato in June to call on Tom Corbett to close the loophole, and Dan is showing leadership on this important issue again today.”
On Friday, CeaseFire PA wrote to the Attorney General, asking Corbett again to close the Florida Loophole and noting that: “We urge you to stand with Pennsylvania law enforcement and take action as Attorney General to close the Florida concealed carry loophole, and not turn your back on them or to ignore this growing threat to public safety in our Commonwealth.”
And on Saturday, the Philadelphia Inquirer editorialized that, “Even though Corbett, the Republican candidate for governor, is arm in arm with the NRA, he should do the right thing on out-of-state gun permits.”
In June, the Philadelphia Daily News reported that, “Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley said Onorato and his allies can’t point to a single incident of serious crime linked to a permit from Florida.” [6/19/2010]
“Tom is wrong on the facts, and his policy is wrong for Pennsylvania,” Onorato said. “I support gun owners’ rights, and closing this loophole is a common-sense safeguard to protect our communities.”
Onorato joins the Pennsylvania Sheriffs’ Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Western Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police, other law enforcement leaders and State Rep. Bryan Lentz in calling for the Florida Loophole to be closed.
Even Florida does not allow its own residents to exploit the same loophole, stating on its website that “non-resident permits cannot be honored under Florida’s reciprocity provision.”
“If Pennsylvania law enforcement has revoked someone’s permit to carry a concealed weapon, no one should be able to do an end-run around the law,” Onorato said. “Allowing dangerous criminals to carry hidden guns does an injustice to every law-abiding gun owner in the Commonwealth.”