FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Tim Briggs
Briggs amendment to close Florida loophole fails on false technicality
HARRISBURG, March 9 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, today expressed disappointment that his attempt to close the "Florida loophole," which allows dangerous individuals to circumvent Pennsylvania law and legally carry firearms in the state, failed in the House not on its merits but on a false technical argument.
"This is a growing problem and I am deeply concerned that not enough of my colleagues were willing to vote to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals," Briggs said. "While the amendment was not successful today, I plan to continue to work with my colleagues to see that this glaring loophole is closed."
Briggs’ proposed amendment (A916) would close a loophole in current law that allows Pennsylvania residents who have been denied a permit to carry a concealed firearm, have had their permit revoked or are ineligible to be granted a permit to legally gain access to firearms. Because of reciprocity agreements with other states with lower standards for granting a permit to carry like Florida, Briggs said that under current law Pennsylvania must recognize permits residents have gotten elsewhere, regardless of their permit status in the Commonwealth. The amendment failed with 50 yes votes and 140 no votes.
In his floor remarks, Briggs referenced the case of Marquis Hill, a Pennsylvania resident who received a Florida permit by mail, legally purchased a firearm and is accused of then fatally shooting a teenager 13 times in the chest last September.
"I don’t want any more Marquis Hills circumventing Pennsylvania law so they can murder an 18-year-old in cold blood," Briggs argued.
During debate on the amendment, Republican members argued that the bill had been improperly drafted. One member commented that he believes while the problem of the Florida loophole is an important issue that needs to be dealt with, he believed the amendment did not successfully address the issue and would vote against the bill
"The argument regarding the improper drafting of the bill was incorrect and only a misdirection that allowed members to vote against the amendment not on its merits but on a false technical argument," Briggs said. "While the issue was obfuscated during debate, the fact remains that the Florida loophole continues to put Pennsylvanians in harm's way each day that it is not closed."
Briggs said that he plans to reintroduce legislation contained in the amendment as its own bill in the coming weeks.