State lawmakers need to close a gun-law loophole that allows residents who were denied a Pennsylvania license to carry a weapon if they have a permit from another state.
In May, State Rep. Bryan Lentz (D., Delaware) introduced a bill that would close this loophole that allows Pennsylvanians to circumvent state law. Denied a license in Pennsylvania, they are turning to Florida, Utah, and New Hampshire for licenses. Those states allow out-of-state residents to apply for a gun permit by mail.
Florida has issued 3,100 gun licenses to Pennsylvanians, but state officials there will not provide Pennsylvania officials with their names. That’s incredibly dangerous. You have to believe the Florida gun-license holders were denied permits in Pennsylvania for good reason.
Gun-rights advocates protested the Lentz bill at a recent House Judiciary Committee hearing in Upper Darby. They argued that the loophole is necessary because the permit-application process in Pennsylvania is too strict. But that’s not a fault, it's a good thing. Nationwide, 60,000 people are killed or wounded each year by handguns. A tougher application process helps to keep those numbers from growing even higher.
The gun-rights backers also say they want to change a provision in Pennsylvania’s concealed-carry laws that allows law enforcement to deny permits to anyone whose “character and reputation” suggest they should not be allowed to carry a gun. It does make sense to make the statute more precise about the grounds used to determine whether an applicant is of good character.