900 Philadelphians, a number that has skyrocketed in recent years, easily circumvented the local licensing process by obtaining a mail-order gun permit from Florida, where the rules are less stringent, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Pennsylvania and Florida have a reciprocal agreement to respect each other’s gun licenses. Legislation pending in Congress – and endorsed by a majority of House members – would extend the reciprocity nationwide.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said such broad reciprocity “undermines the traditional authority of state and local governments to protect their citizens.” The city argues that it needs latitude in determining who is a threat, because of long-standing problems in the court system. The Inquirer has reported that while prosecutors in other big cities win felony convictions in half of violent-crime cases, Philadelphia prosecutors had been winning only 20 percent. Increasingly, Philadelphia police are discovering suspects arrested here have Florida concealed-weapons permits.