There is no question that gun crime is a serious problem in many big cities, such as Philadelphia. At a time when Police Departments have been forced to downsize and prioritize due to severe budget cuts, law enforcement have been stretched to the limit. This could be one factor in giving violent criminals more bravado.
However, many politicians of the Democratic party persuasion have co-created and jumped onto a political soap box which they call “reasonable gun control legislation.” What makes this platform a soap box is that it based on faulty premises, built on emotional appeals as opposed to logical reasoning, and held together by falsehoods and lies.
In Pennsylvania, we’ve just had a new Democratic attorney general elected who has claimed she is really serious about fighting violent gun crime. However, she has campaigned on a platform that is faulty, emotionally driven, and based on inaccurate information.
I recently wrote her a letter urging her to employ her skills as an investigator to obtain more accurate information so that she does not waste precious resources in this time of economic distress and budgetary shortfalls. And I offered to assist her in such an endeavor.
She has yet to respond.
However, in all fairness, it is a big job to be an attorney general because there is a lot to do and no one can know everything or be an expert in everything. Therefore, every one needs competent help, advice and counsel—even attorneys general.
The So-called “Florida Gun Permit Loophole”
Democratic politicians and the Philadelphia Police Department have for some time made a big ado about a so-called “Florida Gun Permit Loophole.”
The print news media, for example, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and television news have capitalized on this attention and made it in a “big scoop.” Unfortunately, the media have spread serious mis-information, and some politicians have either knowingly or unknowingly capitalized on this mis-information to further their political agendas. The mainstream media and these politicians have ignored some very important facts:
1. When a Pennsylvania resident has a non-resident Florida Gun Permit, this does not make it legal for that person to purchase a gun legally in Pennsylvania.
2. Legal purchase of a handgun in Pennsylvania is governed by federal and Pennsylvania law and requires that the transfer of the handgun be conducted live, in real time, and face to face, in Pennsylvania, through a Pennsylvania licensed firearms dealer who has an up to date Federal Firearms License, such as an FFL dealer.
3. At the time of the transfer, the person whose name the gun is going to be registered as the new owner of the gun must be present with the FFL dealer while a call is made on a special phone line to the Pennsylvania State Police Pennsylvania Instant Check System. The state police conduct an instant criminal and mental health history background check on the gun purchaser right then and there.
4. To buy a handgun in Pennsylvania, you must be a resident of Pennsylvania, you do not need any type of permit. You must fill out a 4473 and at the time of the transfer of the gun into your possession by the FFL dealer, a National Instant Check System and Pennsylvania State Police Instant Check is conducted with the Pennsylvania state police over the special Pennsylvania state police phone line.
5. If you are moving into or transiting, visiting PA, you may bring your guns with you without any type of permit or registration.
6. You do need a PA License to Carry Firearms (LTCF), or License To Carry Firearms (LTCF), from another state with which Pennsylvania has gun permit reciprocity in order to legally carry a loaded handgun in Pennsylvania.
7. Loaded long guns may not be carried in cars or otherwise, except under special conditions when hunting legally in PA.
8. You need a PA LTCF or valid reciprocal state LTCF or CCW gun permit, in order to legally carry a concealed gun. Reciprocity laws can be found on the website, www.HandgunLaw.US or on the PA Attorney General’s website.
Differences between the Process for Obtaining a Pennsylvania vs. A Florida Gun Permit
There is no Florida Gun Permit loophole for buying a gun in PA. However, there is another issue: That is; to get a LTCF in PA, you must apply in the county in which you reside. It is true that in Philadelphia, there have been some people who have been denied a LTCF by the Philly Police, and who have applied for the Florida Gun Permit and gotten it. But is that a loophole? I do not think so.
If we examine these cases on a case by case basis, we find that in the majority of cases, when the Philly PD denials were based on legitimate reasons (i.e., that they followed PA Law), such as disqualifying the applicant on the basis of a history of criminal felonies or a history of involuntary psychiatric hospitalizations (i.e., 302′s), these people did not pass the rigorous Florida LTCF application process, when they applied for a Florida gun permit. On the other hand, when folks were denied in Philly based on illegitimate reasons, such as unpaid parking tickets, or a negative subjective impression by the Philly Police interviewer of the applicant on the brief administrative interview, they sometimes did receive their Florida gun permit. But what is the difference between applying for a Pennsylvania LTCF, or PA gun permit, or concealed carry permit, and applying for non-resident Florida LTCF or CCW Permit?
Pennsylvania does NOT require any pre-requisite training.
Florida does require that the applicant pass an appropriate firearms safety class given by an NRA Certified Firearms Instructor that covers:
1. Gun Safety
2. Federal and State Laws on the use of force and the use of deadly force
3. Concealed Carry Laws
4. Concealed carry methods
5. The pitfalls of open carry
6. The safe use of operation of firearms
7. The ethics regarding the use of force and deadly force
8. The judicious use of deadly force and less lethal force
9. How to solve social conflicts and ways to avoid having to use force
10. Self defense rights and obligations of all citizens, and
11. A live qualification on the gun range in which the firearms instructor observes the student/applicant safely discharge a handgun.
Now, armed with this information, where is the loophole? There is none! The process for applying for and obtaining the Florida gun permit is clearly more rigorous than the process for obtaining a LTCF in Pennsylvania.
Trained legally armed concealed firearm permit holders (civilians) have a much much better and safer performance record.
In my letter to the newly elected PA Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, as President and CEO of a professional firearms training company, Personal Defense Solutions, LLC, www.PersonalDefenseSolutions.net, I offered to train her and her staff for free with a course of instruction covering firearms safety and all of the above topics. All that I asked her in return was the following:
- That she personally and publicly acknowledge to me and the press that she had personally read my blog and my posts on this topic, and my writings on the lack of common sense in the so-called gun control movement:
- If after reading this material, she would acknowledge to me and the press, if she believed it to be true, that perhaps she had been misinformed in the past in the position she had taken on the so-called “Florida Loophole”.
More guns in trained hands, less violent crime!
Violent criminals do not apply for licenses to carry firearms before they go out and commit gun violence. Gun violence is already illegal! Only law abiding citizens apply for gun permits; that is, licenses to carry firearms. The problem of illegal guns on the street is another problem, and a big one, for law enforcement to tackle with limited resources. I implore attorney generals everywhere to avoid wasting limited resources on a non-issue, and instead that they put the public’s money where it belongs — on fighting violent crime. Armed and trained responsible citizens can be a deterrent to gun accidents and gun crime, and thus, an asset to Public Safety.
Bruce N. Eimer, Ph.D. is a practicing Licensed Psychologist (PA & NJ) and a Pennsylvania State Police Certified Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor and NRA Certified Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor who advocates for responsible gun owNership and through gun education. He is the founder and President of Personal Defense Solutions, LLC, a professional firearms training company in the Philadelphia area. Their website is: www.PersonalDefenseSolutions.net Dr. Eimer also qualifies retired police officers to carry concealed firearms under HR 218 which is the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA). More information on this can be found at: www.RetiredPoliceCCW.com Dr. Eimer writes a blog at www.ConcealedCarryLaw.com