Philly gun owners get permits from Florida

    Philadelphia police and prosecutors say a loophole in the law allows residents to carry concealed weapons even when they’ve been denied a permit by the city’s police department.

    Philadelphia police and prosecutors say a loophole in the law allows residents to carry concealed weapons even when they’ve been denied a permit by the city’s police department.

    Listen:
    [audio: 100205spguns.mp3]

    For the past year, Philadelphia police officers have noticed a disturbing trend. More and more people with prior arrests or known criminal behavior are getting concealed weapons permits from Florida, and carrying their guns around Philadelphia streets.. Lieutenant Lisa King runs the gun permit unit for the Philadelphia Police.

    King:“Police officers are stopping these guys that they know in the district that are real dirtbags and they have a permit to carry from Florida. And they’ll confiscate the permit and send it to us. And we’ll send a letter to Florida, but just from like phone conversations they’ll be like, well we don’t revoke for that. And we’ll be like…OK..”

     King says Philadelphia can reject applicants for their character and reputation. She says the majority of the 23,000 Philadelphians who do have permits to carry concealed weapons are law-abiding, and cause no problems. 

     But through an interstate reciprocity agreement, its perfectly legal to turn to Florida, if Philadelphia rejects an application.

     Joe Grace is executive director of Cease Fire P-A, a gun control organization.

     Grace:  “The issue here is people who can’t get a valid permit to carry a concealed firearm in Pennsylvania then by mail order, literally, can get a permit from the Florida Department of Agriculture, get a permit and be able to carry a concealed weapon in Pennsylvania. We think that just does not make sense.”

     Grace says the state Attorney General’s office needs to revise its interpretation of the reciprocity agreement.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.