Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, the Democratic nominee for governor, this morning repeated his demand that state Attorney General Tom Corbett, the Republican nominee, use the power of his office to close the "Florida loophole" that allows Pennsylvania residents to obtain permits to carry concealed weapons from the Florida Department of Agriculture. Onorato, speaking in City Hall, made the same argument he made in the same place three months ago. The difference: Now Onorato can point to a Sept. 12 city homicide where the accused shooter was holding a Florida gun permit.
"This is a real problem in Pennsylvania," said Onorato, who was again joined in his news conference by Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams. "Tom Corbett is running for governor. If he thinks this was just a 30-second sound-bite in June than he has another think coming."
Corbett's campaign, which in June derided the issue as a "solution in search of a problem," today accused Onorato of not understanding state gun laws while exploiting a homicide to score political points. Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley said if the Attorney General ended a gun permit reciprocity agreement with Florida that state laws here would still require Pennsylvania to recognize a gun permit issued by a state with equal or more stringent requirements as Pennsylvania.
"This is what voters have come to expect from career politician Dan Onorato," Harley said. "He exploits the death of young man and uses it as a political prop. The fact is the Attorney General cannot unilaterally change the laws of Pennsylvania. Only the legislature can do that."
State Rep. Bryan Lentz, a Delaware County Democrat, has a bill pending in the state House to change that law. Harley said Corbett does not support it and "thinks the Pennsylvania law the way it is now is appropriate."