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)
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.
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.
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.