Pennsylvania is something of a battleground state, with a large urban population that votes Democrat and a large rural population that votes Republican. They’re generally just as divided on the issue of guns in general, with Governor Tom Wolf clearly on the side of the anti-gunners.
Wolf has made his opinions on guns and gun rights well known. After all, you don’t stand with a mayor who announces his decision to ignore state law unless you agree with him.
Since then, though, Wolf has made his feelings well known. Yet, if there were any doubts, his latest effort should tell you all you need to know.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (D-Pa.) vetoed two gun bills that would repeal laws intended to control the carrying of guns and prevent public officials from shutting down firearms sales during emergency proclamations.
The bills, which recently passed the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania State Senate, intended to limit Wolf’s powers during the COVID-19 pandemic and moving forward, AP News reported. Wolf, a Democrat who supports broader gun control measures, has previously vetoed more than six such bills.
“The current disaster declarations in place are meant to help the administration fight the public health crises at hand and have no impact on citizens and their firearm rights,” Wolf’s office said in a statement on Nov. 19.
While the first bill would repeal a provision that states “no person shall carry a firearm upon the public streets or upon any public property,” those who have a concealed-carry license would be exempt. Lawmakers say the law has gone largely unenforced, AP News reported.
Rep. Matthew Dowling (R.-Fayette), the bill’s sponsor, however, believes the law could limit people from openly carrying a firearm which is not generally banned in the state, AP News reported.
To be fair, the vetos shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone in the state. After all, Wolf has made it clear he’s not a fan of people’s Second Amendment rights, no matter what he claims in official statements.
Wolf would rather the citizens of Pennsylvania face arrest if carrying a firearm in public during an emergency.
While the pandemic was not the kind of emergency you needed to be armed at all times for, necessarily–at least, not any more than you would on any regular day in the state–the truth of the matter is that there’s more than one kind of emergency. The bill sought to fix a law that could actually make people more vulnerable to aggressive acts.
The fact that Wolf vetoed the bill illustrates that he either doesn’t understand gun rights in the first place or he doesn’t care about them, if not both.
Meanwhile, the blood will be on his hands if someone ends up barred from carrying a gun during an emergency and they lose their life because of it. That’s on him.
“They said the law is largely unenforced,” someone might cry, and that may be right. Yet a law on the books is a law that can be enforced. Further, if it’s unenforced, then why leave it on the books in the first place?
Wolf not signing the bills isn’t surprising. Nor will him refusing to accept any responsibility for the loss of life that may result from this veto.