Friday, June 11, 2010

Chiefs Back Lentz

from the inbox:

Representative Bryan Lentz today announced that Police Chiefs from Upper Darby Township, Swarthmore and Philadelphia joined law enforcement officials from across the state to submit a letter in support of legislation he introduced late last month that will close a loophole in state law that allows residents with outstanding arrests for violent crimes to legally carry concealed weapons.

The letter, signed by Chiefs from ten cities and municipalities earlier this week, was submitted to the House Judiciary Committee, where the bill is set to be considered on June 15. Law enforcement officials who signed the letter came from cities large and small, including Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Upper Darby Township.

The bill, HB 2536, would prevent residents of Pennsylvania who would be denied the right to carry concealed weapons who are awaiting trial for violent crimes from using a permit from another state to legally carry a concealed weapon as is currently allowed under Pennsylvania law. This is a common practice, including at least 3,100 permits that have been granted to Pennsylvania residents by the Florida Department of Agriculture alone.

“There are numerous instances of suspects, including some with prior arrests for drug offenses, assault, domestic abuse, and even homicide – who would not have been granted a permit under Pennsylvania law… (this bill) will close that loophole by confirming the authority of Pennsylvania law enforcement as the definitive permitting body for Pennsylvania residents…” the law enforcement officials wrote in their letter (full text of the letter is attached to this release).

Lentz’s legislation would make it a crime for residents of Pennsylvania to carry a concealed weapon using an out-of-state permit, if they would not otherwise be approved to carry a concealed weapon by the Sheriff’s office in the county in which they reside. Pennsylvania’s right-to-carry legislation currently has a loophole that allows anybody to carry a concealed weapon in the state who receives permission to carry a concealed weapon from any other state.

“We need to ensure that our laws are working to prevent people suspected of violent crimes from circumventing our laws and putting our law enforcement officials and residents at risk,” Lentz said. “The support of those responsible for enforcing Pennsylvania’s laws demonstrates the pressing need to close the existing loophole.”

Police chiefs who signed the letter include:
Charles Ramsey, Police Commissioner, City of Philadelphia.
Nathan Harper, Chief of Police, City of Pittsburgh
Keith Sadler, Chief of Police, City of Lancaster
Michael Chitwood, Police Superintendent, Upper Darby Township
Michael Carroll, Chief of Police, West Goshen Township

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