from the inbox:
Pennsylvania’s leading gun violence prevention organization, CeaseFirePA, endorsed Democratic gubernatorial nominee Dan Onorato today, praising his support of common-sense legislation that respects Pennsylvanians’ Second Amendment rights while getting illegal handguns off the streets.
“I am a strong believer in gun owners’ rights, and I know that we can respect those rights while making our communities safer,” said Onorato. “While Tom Corbett is representing the fringe of his party, I will stand with law enforcement and community leaders to fight for public safety.”
Most recently, Onorato, CeaseFirePA and mayors and chiefs of police from across the state have called on Corbett to use his existing authority as Attorney General to close the Florida Loophole. Under the loophole, even when Pennsylvania law enforcement officials deny or revoke a concealed-carry permit because of a history of arrests, domestic violence or substance abuse, a suspect can carry a concealed weapon with permission from the state of Florida.
Corbett can close the loophole with 30 days notice simply by dissolving the state’s reciprocity agreement with Florida.
But at Saturday night’s gubernatorial debate, the Harrisburg Republican went further than his usual statement that the loophole is not a problem. This time, he denied that it even existed.
“I do not believe, as the newspapers say, that there is a Florida Loophole, as everybody says there is,” Corbett told moderator John Baer. [Capitolwire, 10/16/2010]
In March, 175 Pennsylvania mayors signed a letter to Corbett asking him to close the loophole. Newspapers from Pittsburgh [Post Gazette, 10/4/2010] to Scranton [Times-Tribune, 6/5/2010] have called to end the loophole. The Pennsylvania Sheriffs’ Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Western Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police, and other law enforcement leaders have all called for the loophole to be closed.
“No mother should have to bury her 14- month-old child," said Mary Beth Hacke, a CeaseFirePA board member whose son was killed in his car seat by a stray bullet. “We need real leadership to help keep our families and communities safe. Tom Corbett has proven that he's not on our side, and Dan Onorato is the only candidate for Governor who is.”
Onorato released a policy paper in March detailing his plans for public safety. It includes:
* fighting for common-sense laws such as requiring people to report when a handgun has been lost or stolen;
* prosecuting straw purchasers and other violators to the fullest extent of the law; and
* toughening penalties for criminals who violate gun laws.
“Dan Onorato is the only candidate who will protect our streets from gun violence and institute common-sense solutions,” CeaseFirePA President Phil Goldsmith said. “Reasonable proposals like child safety locks, mandatory reporting of stolen guns and closing the Florida Loophole are in the best interest of everyday Pennsylvanians and law-abiding gun owners.”
Onorato pledged that, as Governor, he will work with communities to improve public safety statewide.
“We should never outsource our law enforcement to other states, and as Attorney General, Tom Corbett should know that,” Onorato said. “Public safety is a basic requirement for economic growth and stable communities, and cracking down on illegal handguns will be a top priority when I’m Governor.”