State lawmakers should close a gun-law loophole that allows someone who was denied a Pennsylvania license to still carry a weapon if he has a permit from another state.
State Rep. Bryan Lentz (D., Delaware) introduced a bill in May that would close a loophole that allows Pennsylvanians to circumvent state law. Denied a concealed-carry license in Pennsylvania, they are turning to Florida, Utah, and New Hampshire. Those states allow out-of-state residents to apply for a license by mail.
Florida has issued 3,100 concealed-carry licenses to Pennsylvanians, but state officials there will not provide Pennsylvania officials with their names. That's incredibly dangerous. Some of the Florida gun-license holders were likely denied licenses in Pennsylvania for good reason.
Gun-rights advocates protested the Lentz bill at a Judiciary Committee hearing on Aug. 10 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 that he or she 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.