Red flag laws are incredibly popular according to the polls. Granted, they almost never get voted for by the public when they get the chance, but in the polls, it looks like a slam dunk.
Yet polling doesn’t really impact legislation nearly as much as some might believe.
For example, despite all that polling, Pennsylvania’s red flag law looks to be dying in committee. Such is the only appropriate ending for such a pathetic infringement on someone’s civil liberties. However, that view isn’t shared by everyone.
In fact, anti-gunners are considering a legislative end-around to try and save the bill.
A summer filled with gun violence has given way to an autumn of frustration for many Pennsylvania lawmakers who want to do something about shootings, and some think it’s time to pull a political end-around to shake things up.
A popular bill that has stalled in a legislative committee would allow for the temporary confiscation of firearms from people deemed to show “red flag” symptoms of being in crisis.
A logical next step, some bill supporters say, is a maneuver called a “discharge resolution” which, if approved, automatically plucks a bill from a committee where it has stalled.
“We need to try every tactic we can,” said state Rep. Leanne Krueger, a Delaware County Democrat who supports the bill.
In other words, anti-gun lawmakers aren’t able to successfully bully their colleagues into approving the bill, so they want to try and use some legislative shenanigans to bypass the committee entirely.
Yeah, because that’s how it’s supposed to work.
If there’s saving grace, it’s that discharge resolutions in Pennsylvania have a long and storied history of simply not working. According to The Morning Call in the above-linked story:
The Morning Call reviewed online state records of the past 50 resolutions attempting to “discharge” bills from committees in both the House and Senate, dating back 11 years.
Of that number, only one ― a 2017 resolution to shake up a bill that put a severance tax on natural gas production ― went to an actual vote in the House. The resolution was defeated, 115 votes to 83.
So it’s not like this has a real shot at yielding any real benefit for anti-gunners.
Still, leave to the anti-gun legions to try something like this when it’s clear they don’t have the support for the bill they like to think they do. While some lawmakers argue that discharge resolutions serve to draw attention to stalled bills more than anything else, it’s not like people don’t know about a red flag bill. The lack of movement has nothing to do with ignorance.
The fact of the matter is that anti-gunners are notoriously sore losers. They don’t get the chance to infringe on people’s civil liberties and then they stomp and throw tantrums in an attempt to change people’s minds. That’s all this discharge resolution talk really is. They’re not getting their way and so they decide to go all Veruca Salt in the legislature under the misguided belief that if they stomp their feet hard enough, they’ll get their way.
Just imagine what they could accomplish if they used that determination to protect people’s civil liberties rather than infringe upon them.