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Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has taken her first official action since taking office, closing a gun loophole that allowed Pennsylvanians to get concealed carry permits from Florida that were usable in PA - even if the person applying for the permit in FL had been barred from getting such a permit in PA and wasn't a Florida resident.

Kathleen Kane
Photo by Matt Rourke / Newstimes.com
If you're a regular visitor of Daily Kos, I doubt you need convincing that elections matter, but if you find yourself debating that with someone this is a perfect example to prove the point. Kathleen Kane isn't just the first woman PA attorney general, she is the first Democratic AG the state has ever had since the PA Constitution was amended to make it an elected position in 1980. This so-called "Florida loophole" existed for the past 12 years and was an issue in the 2010 governor's race in which Democratic candidate Dan Onorato slammed Republican Tom Corbett for not closing it when Corbett was PA AG, and Corbett claimed the loophole wasn't a problem. That's right, our current governor thought it was just fine for PA residents denied concealed carry permits in PA to get them from FL and use them here. Well, the voters of PA finally put a Democrat in the AG's office, and now that loophole is a thing of the past.

Kane announced the closing of the Florida loophole at a press event in Philadelphia last Friday, February 8, with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Philadelphia Police Chief Charles Ramsey. In a press release from the AG's office, Kane is quoted saying, "Our state's gun traffic and permits should never be bypassed. Closing this loophole shows that it is possible to swiftly implement common sense gun safety measures that protect our streets," and Mayor Nutter praised her, saying, "This is a significant step toward making Philadelphia, and the entire Commonwealth, safer for all residents. Modification of the firearm reciprocity agreement with Florida will ensure that all citizens with Concealed Carry Permits in Pennsylvania have met the standards set forth by our great state. I congratulate Attorney General Kane for taking swift action on this important issue."

Kathleen Kane
Photo by Matt Rourke / Newstimes.com
Of course, no matter how moderate a change in gun laws may be, there will always be conservative reactionaries eager to come up with convoluted reasons why lax gun laws shouldn't be touched. But don't be fooled, there are very real consequences to policies like this - in 2010, a teenager was shot 13 times by a man who had his PA concealed carry permit revoked, but was legally carrying a concealed firearm in PA with a permit from FL. Now, thanks to the voters of PA and the Democratic attorney general they put in office, such egregious abuses of the law will no longer be tolerated.

For people that reside in both Pennsylvania and Florida, a Florida concealed carry permit will still count in Pennsylvania, but the person must have proof of Florida residency on them whenever carrying a concealed firearm and the FL permit in PA. Pennsylvanians who don't meet that description have 120 days from the date of the announcement to get PA concealed carry permits, after that time their FL permits will not be usable in PA. (These details are from the previously linked press release.)

There's no reason why someone who only lives in Pennsylvania and can't get or had revoked a concealed carry permit in PA should be able to get one from another state and have it count here. Now, thanks to the first Democratic attorney general of PA in modern history, they won't.

Originally posted to ProgressivePatriotPA on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 03:31 PM PST.

Also republished by DKos Pennsylvania and VAGV - Veterans Against Gun Violence.

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