Pennsylvania House Passes Permitless Carry

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If I had my way, the entire nation would have permitless carry, also called constitutional carry. Anyone who could lawfully own a firearm would be able to carry one in any manner they wanted, either open or concealed.

Unfortunately, I don’t rule the world.

I know, I’m disappointed by that myself.

Regardless, though, I’d still like to see constitutional carry become the law in more places. One state has taken a key step in making that dream come true for me.

A bill to allow people to carry concealed weapons without a permit was passed by a divided Pennsylvania House on Tuesday, but faces a veto threat from the governor.

The parties were split in the vote, as occurred in the state Senate last week, with Republican mostly supporting it and Democrats mostly opposed.

Supporters said getting concealed carry permits under current law can be subject to the whims of county sheriffs and that concealed carry permit holders can forget when their licenses expire and therefore unknowingly violate the law.

Opponents, however, simply argue that the bill is unlikely to pass.

They’re not wrong, either. Gov. Tom Wolf is vehemently anti-gun and has promised to veto the bill when it reaches his desk. As things currently stand, there aren’t enough votes to override that veto.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean there can’t be.

Let’s be honest, even if the vote went straight down party lines, the one principle most politicians hold to more than anything is keeping their jobs. If there’s enough outswell of support for the bill, at least some Democrats will cross party lines and vote to override the veto. It actually can happen.

It’s not likely, unfortunately, but I really, really want to be wrong.

See, for me, constitutional carry is the premier expression of support for gun rights in a given state. Once they reach that point, there’s generally nowhere else to go without running into federal law. Not everyone wants to pull a Missouri and just nullify everything, after all.

But passing constitutional carry is rarely easy. Especially if you’re a state that gives sheriffs any authority over who may or may not get a permit. After all, as noted above, sheriffs may opt to refuse a permit to someone, even if the state is otherwise “shall issue.” State law requires the sheriff’s office to investigate, among other things, “investigate whether the applicant’s character and reputation are such that the applicant will not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety,” which sounds fine until you realize that gives the sheriff a lot of latitude he shouldn’t have.

Passing constitutional carry removes that.

If you’re a Pennsylvania resident, it’s imperative that you reach out and call your state lawmakers and make sure they know where you stand. You also need to rally all your friends and family and urge them to do the same. Make enough waves and even anti-gun Democrats may switch their position, even if only to keep their jobs.