Sheriff halts out-of-state gun permit applications

BY STACI WILSON

People from out of state looking to get a Pennsylvania license to carry firearms permit need not apply in Susquehanna County.

As of today, Wednesday, May 1, the Susquehanna County Sheriff’s office will no longer be processing the out-of-state applications.

Sheriff Lance Benedict said his office has been inundated with applications since the end of December 2012. In the first two months of the year, the Susquehanna County sheriff’s office processed 605 permit applications.

Of those applications, there is no way to determine how many are from out of state, Benedict said.
The bulk of each workday for three, full-time office employees is being spent processing the gun permit applications, he said, leaving little time for other necessary department work.

Benedict and deputy sheriffs have also been working on processing the permit applications.

The sheriff said there are exceptions in which out of state permit applications would be accepted.

The Susquehanna County Sheriff’s Department will accept applications from people outside of Pennsylvania if there is a reciprocity agreement between the Pennsylvania Attorney General and the state where the applicant resides; and states that have statutory reciprocity under the Uniform Firearms Act.

According to the attorney general’s website, Pennsylvania has formal written reciprocity agreements with 18 states that recognize a valid license to carry firearms issued by the Commonwealth and, conversely, Pennsylvania recognizes valid firearm carry licenses/permits from those states.

States with formal reciprocity agreements with Pennsylvania include: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

States where reciprocity exists without a formal agreement are: Colorado, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Montana, North Dakota, Utah and Wisconsin.

Currently, there is no reciprocity agreement between Pennsylvania and the state of New York.

Before May 1, New York residents were able to apply in Susquehanna County for the Pennsylvania license to carry firearms permit. The Pennsylvania permit allowed the license holder to carry firearms in the states where reciprocity agreements are in place with the Commonwealth.

In addition to issuing permits to residents of states where reciprocity exists, Benedict said he would also process license to carry firearm permit applications from non-residents who own property in Susquehanna County and can provide a tax bill showing proof of ownership.

Around the state, several county sheriffs have reported receiving a high number of permit applications, largely attributed to the potential adoption of new and more restrictive federal and state gun laws.

More information about reciprocity agreements can be found on the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s website at www.attorneygeneral.gov.