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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 13, 2016 11:15 AM
From: Representative Will Tallman
To: All House members
Subject: Reciprocity for Concealed Carry Permits between States
In the near future, I will introduce legislation to provide the Attorney General some much needed guidance when reviewing other states’ laws for the purpose of recognizing each state’s license to carry a concealed firearm in Pennsylvania.

The law in Commonwealth requires the Attorney General to make a determination that “the firearm laws of the state are similar to the firearm laws of this Commonwealth.” (18 Pa.C.S. § 6106 (b)(15)(ii)). This has been in statute since the passage Act 66 of 2005; and generally, the law has worked fairly well for nine years.

Our former Attorney General Kathleen Kane interjected certain political motivations into the process of determining whether the laws of a state are “similar” to Pennsylvania’s. My legislation will give the AG the guidance needed to focus analysis on the substance of the law.

Specifically, my legislation would limit the analysis to thirteen criteria (which are already utilized in determining whether someone is eligible to obtain a Pennsylvania carry permit). The AG would need to determine whether the other state’s law prevents any of the following people from obtaining a carry permit:
  • An individual whose character and reputation is such that the individual would be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety.
  • An individual who has been convicted of a drug offense.
  • An individual convicted of the types of crimes that would prevent a person from possessing a firearm.
  • An individual who, within the past ten years, has been adjudicated delinquent for a serious crime (like those enumerated in section 6105 or for an offense under The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act).
  • An individual who is not of sound mind or who has ever been committed to a mental institution.
  • An individual who is addicted to or is an unlawful user of marijuana or a stimulant, depressant or narcotic drug.
  • An individual who is a habitual drunkard.
  • An individual who is charged with or has been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year (with exceptions for offenses in which the disability has been waived or the individual received a pardon).
  • An alien who is illegally in the United States.
  • An individual who has been discharged from the armed forces of the United States under dishonorable conditions.
  • An individual who is a fugitive from justice (not including nonmoving or moving summary vehicle offenses).
  • An individual who is otherwise prohibited from possessing, using, manufacturing, controlling, purchasing, selling or transferring a firearm under state law.
  • An individual who is prohibited from possessing or acquiring a firearm under the statutes of the United States.

As you can see, this list is pretty comprehensive. Conspicuously absent from the list, though, is the former Attorney General’s “zip code” analysis. Many states allow out-of-state residents to apply for and, if they pass a comprehensive background check like Pennsylvania’s, receive a carry permit. The former AG determined that two states’ laws (Florida and Utah) were not “similar” enough because they allowed a person from out-of-state to get a carry permit.

She called it “a loophole in the law.”

I am hard pressed to understand how an individual’s zip code makes them more or less of a “menace to society.” On the contrary, I believe that an individual’s mailing address may indicate that they actually are in greater need of a means of self-defense than others. You may be surprised to find out that even Pennsylvania law allows someone from out-of-state to get a license to carry a firearm in the Commonwealth.

This “throw-back” language in the UFA was added to the law long before we enacted the reciprocity language we have today. It required the out-of-stater to have a license from their home state first. Now that we have reciprocity, this law is used much less frequently than it was.

This legislation also makes a similar change to the provisions of 18 Pa.C.S. § 6109(k) to continue to allow the AG to negotiate reciprocal agreements, but limit their ability to use “zip code” analysis as a means to refuse reciprocity.

Please add your name to the list of cosponsors for this legislation and let’s refocus our Attorney General on criteria that matters, not zip codes that don’t.

If you have any questions regarding this legislation please contact Carol Hoffman at (717) 783-8875 or by e-mail at choffman@pahousegop.com .

Introduced as HB155