As a gun blogger, I can tell you that firearms-related news stories are never quite as clearcut as their authors would have you believe. A “clean” self-defense shooting is usually the result of “prior contact.” New gun laws always have unintended consequences. It’s not that we live in a world of spin. It’s more that the world is constantly spinning. To find the truth, you have to look for the lies. For example . .
The Pennsylvania police and their supporters are not happy that taxpaying, God-fearing residents of the Quaker State can obtain and use a concealed carry permit from Florida within Pennsylvania’s borders. So they want to close the “Florida gun license loophole.”
Only why? The same basic rules apply in Florida as they do in Pennsylvania. The applicant must pass an NICS background check (no criminal record or history of mental illness). The difference: PA has a character clause in its concealed carry laws that allows the police to refuse a license for any reason they deem appropriate. To paraphrase Snap!, they got the power.
To justify what is, let’s face it, a turf protection racket, the PA pop-po need a poster child: a Pennsylvania resident and Florida concealed carry license holder who did a bad, bad thing in their jurisdiction. Enter Marqus Hill.
When police stripped Marqus Hill of his permit to carry a gun in Philadelphia after a 2005 confrontation with officers, Hill didn’t let that stop him: He just applied for a firearms license from Florida.
Though police said Hill had lost a 2008 appeal to win back his Philadelphia permit and reacted by assaulting a police officer in court, Florida mailed him a gun license last year.
Early Sunday morning, police said, Hill, 28, gunned down an 18-year-old who allegedly broke into his car, shooting him 13 times.
Ladies and gentlemen, philly.com has a winner! I mean, a loser. An obvious example of someone who circumvented PA law in FL and went AWOL with a gun in PA. Let’s close this Florida loophole and leave, shall we?
The bill, proposed by State Rep. Bryan R. Lentz (D., Delaware), would prevent Pennsylvanians not eligible for a state gun permit from using permits issued by another state.
“This case really illustrates the problem,” Lentz said. “This is the exact kind of person that the permitting process is supposed to prevent from having a gun.”
Open and shut, right? As Inspector Columbo would say, just one more thing . . .
Hill lost his Philadelphia-issued permit in 2005, after having what Blackburn described as “significant contact” with police.
Blackburn would not elaborate on what had happened between Hill and police, saying Hill’s record had been expunged. Court records show Hill was charged with attempted murder, assault, and carrying a weapon without a license in 2005, though he was not convicted of any offenses.
Hang on. Back up. Did you catch that? Hill had a PA permit. So the PA Powers That Be deemed Hill a safe bet, concealed carry handgun-wise. And then they removed his permit—immediately before Hill used a gun in a violent incident. What was that all about? If philly.com has such easy access to Mr. Hill’s records, why don’t they spill on the details? Their silence seems a bit . . . convenient.
Hill was let off from a firearms charge after his armed encounter with person or persons unknown. So a judge must have considered the threat serious enough to justify Hill’s decision to use force and carry an illegal gun. As Hill’s record was expunged, we can surmise that the DA maybe kinda wishes he’d never brought the charges in the first place.
Three years later . . .
In 2008, Hill appealed the revocation of his gun permit, which was upheld. He became so irate he was asked to leave the courtroom and then assaulted an officer, Blackburn said. The assault charge was later reduced to disorderly conduct.
Once again, the police downgraded a gun-related “crime”—which would have prevented Mr. Hill from receiving a Florida concealed carry permit—for reasons unknown. So whose fault is that?
One more thing: the heinous act that leads this story. Hill may have “gunned down” an “eighteen year old” who “allegedly” broke into his car by shooting him “13 times,” but what’s the story there? The paper inflammatory word choice convicts Hill without a trial; would it have been OK if he’d only shot the teenager once? As of this writing, Hill’s still an innocent man.
More character assassination:
Police have not found the handgun they believe was used in Sunday’s shooting, but they recovered an assault rifle and a shotgun from Hill’s home.
Neither of which were purchased illegally, as far as we know. The point here is that we have not heard Mr. Hill’s side of the story in all this, and it’s clear this not a straightforward tale of a bad, bad man circumventing PA law via FL and returning home to wreak havoc. Because if Hill was truly a career criminal, A) he’d have a record and B) he wouldn’t have bothered trying—several times—to get a concealed carry permit/license.
I’d also like to point out this whole thing is pure b.s. Why should a citizen with a clean record have to jump through ANY hoops to exercise his constitutional right to bear arms? The fact that this “loophole” exists at all is down to the fact that the PA licensing authorities are making it difficult for non-criminal citizens to get a permit to carry a gun.
I don’t condone Mr. Hill’s courtroom outburst, but I can certainly understand his frustration, when his government prohibits him from protecting his life. And shame on philly.com for propagandizing on behalf of the police. Have they forgotten the story of the African-American security guards falsely imprisoned by the Philadelphia on trumped-up weapons charges?
Half-truths are not truths. Quite the opposite, in fact.