Attorney General Kane Invalidates Utah Firearm Reciprocity

Today, the news spread like wildfire that Pennsylvania Attorney General Kane had invalidated Pennsylvania’s reciprocity with Utah. Unfortunately, the news is true.

Unlike the previous “modifications” to the Florida, Virginia and Arizona reciprocity agreements (which I previously discussed in my article on AG Kane eviscerating the Florida Reciprocity Agreement and in my testimony before the PA House of Representatives, State Government Committee), our reciprocity with Utah was not based on a formal reciprocity agreement; but rather, based on a finding by former Attorney General Corbett that the laws of Pennsylvania and Utah were similar and therefore require no reciprocity agreement.

18 Pa.C.S. § 6106(b)(15) provides

Any person who possesses a valid and lawfully issued license or permit to carry a firearm which has been issued under the laws of another state, regardless of whether a reciprocity agreement exists between the Commonwealth and the state under section 6109(k), provided:

(i) The state provides a reciprocal privilege for individuals licensed to carry firearms under section 6109.
(ii) The Attorney General has determined that the firearm laws of the state are similar to the firearm laws of this Commonwealth. (emphasis added)
As previously mentioned, Attorney General Corbett had previously found that the laws of Utah and Pennsylvania were similar. In fact, if you want to see how the AG’s website appeared as recently as March 1, 2014 and reflected the reciprocity based upon Section 6106(b)(15), you can go here. As you will see, it reflects that Utah is listed in category 2. If you now go to the AG’s website, you will see that Utah is no longer in category 2 but rather in category 4.

In AG Kane’s letter of May 6, 2014 letter to Utah Department of Public Safety, she, through her Chief Deputy, states that since Utah confirmed that it will issue non-resident permits to individuals who do not have a license from their resident state (such as New Jersey), “Utah’s relevant statutory provisions are not compatible with Pennsylvania and we can no longer recognize statutory reciprocity with Utah.” Utah also updated its website to reflect that Utah no longer has reciprocity with Pennsylvania.

So, what does this mean? Unfortunately, this means that Pennsylvania will no longer honor Utah licenses for purposes of 18 Pa.C.S. § 6106(b)(15); however, as I previously testified to, this does not invalidate the exception found in 18 Pa.C.S. § 6106(b)(11), which provides:
Any person while carrying a firearm in any vehicle, which person possesses a valid and lawfully issued license for that firearm which has been issued under the laws of the United States or any other state.
It would seem, as my testimony reflects, that serious constitutional and legal issues arise with AG Kane’s actions, including violations of due process and legal quandaries of how AG Kane can invalidate the findings of former Attorney General Corbett. Furthermore, the concern arises as to how Utah permit holders, including our New Jersey non-resident Utah permit brethren, are being notified of this change, since they have relied on their Utah permits to carry in the Commonwealth.

 
I understand from my contacts that Attorney General Kane’s office has been slow to respond to inquiries regarding this change. Most interestingly, several legislators have been told by AG Kane’s office that the change was due to Utah cancelling our reciprocity. When I provided Attorney General Kane’s May 6th letter, they were somewhat shocked by the lies that they were told. Some have also been told that a reciprocity agreement with Utah is in the works but none have a copy of any such preliminary agreement or knowledge of when it might be signed. Clearly, if any new reciprocity agreement is drafted, it is sure to include restrictions on recognition of non-resident permit holders, similar to that found in the modified Florida, Virginia and Arizona reciprocity agreements.

If you haven’t taken the opportunity to read my testimony, I highly recommend that you do so, as the legal issues are specified at length. When the Florida reciprocity agreement was modified, I was prepared to challenge Attorney General Kane’s actions but couldn’t gather the funding (war chest) necessary to litigate the issue and everyone said she’d stop with Florida. Then came Virginia and Arizona…now Utah. Where will it end? That I don’t know but if we can obtain funding to fight Attorney General Kane and her legal department (that she has at her disposal), I’m prepared to bring this fight to the courts. We can’t stand idly by while our rights are eviscerated. We need to stand in solidarity with our non-resident permit holders and let Attorney General Kane know that we Pennsylvanians, and non-residents, cling to our guns.

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18 Comments

Filed under Firearms Law, Pennsylvania Firearms Law

18 responses to “Attorney General Kane Invalidates Utah Firearm Reciprocity

  1. Those of us in NJ who just lost our Utah reciprocity rights are kicking around the idea of starting an online fundraiser to raise money so you could litigate this. Is this feasible and, if so, how much would we need to raise?

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  4. For carrying in a vehicle you quote “possesses a valid and lawfully issued license for that firearm”. NJ requires obtaining a “Permit to Purchase a Handgun & Form of Register” before you can purchase a handgun. Does that count under 18 Pa.C.S. § 6106(b)(11)?

    • While I cannot say for sure, as there is no PA case law on this issue, it is likely that any court would interpret the meaning to be a license or permit to carry a firearm, not to purchase.

      • Ryan Jairam

        That is probably correct. Illinois residents used to be able to show their FOID cards but they had an outright ban on carry.

  5. Larry B.

    Well there goes this NJ resident’s plans to retire to “gun friendly” PA.

  6. Attorney General, Kathleen Kane appears to have been infected with the “Obama syndrome” virus – a terminal condition that slowly eats away at the part of the brain where common sense originates……….This newly identified virus relentlessly attacks the infected person’s brain & they quickly lose all memory of the promises they made & oath that they took to enforce the laws of the land & serve the people….Three of the most prominent figures in our government have been positively diagnosed with the syndrome……President ” You can keep your plan “, Obama,… ” Benghazi video”, Hillary Clinton & “Fast & Furious “, Eric Holder…..Another related symptom of this relentless disease is the overwhelming sense of empowerment & arrogance directed at the people that they were elected to serve…Reports indicate that the virus is also rampant in the IRS, EPA, VA, NSA, CIA and many, MANY other government institutions…Much like the addictive actions of a heroin junkie, the infected parties can’t control their overwhelming urge to ignore the constitution, play it by ear & make things up as they stumble aimlessly though their terms in office….. Shortly after taking office, Kane announced her presence by refusing to perform her duty & acknowledge the DOMA act, a law that she was elected to enforce, but one that she didn’t personally agree with…..then she refused to prosecute a gang of her fellow politicians that were caught red handed on tape accepting bribes, many times….her reason for not prosecuting her friends was “not enough proof – weak evidence “…..then, the other day, she decided on her own, with no warning & with no prior discussion with any other elected officials, to revoke a carry permit reciprocity agreement with the state of Utah…This was her first “shot” across the bow to signal her ultimate goal – evidence of her intention to help completely erode our second amendment rights….Just like a bullet to the head of a zombie, the only known way to eradicate the deadly Obama virus is to get off your lazy ass & VOTE.the bums out.

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    • Actually, it is not false. We had statutory reciprocity with Utah that did not require a reciprocity agreement. She invalidated that statutory reciprocity. Over a month later, she entered into a reciprocity agreement with Utah, which only applies to Utah resident permit holders.

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