In pro-gun states, the gold standard for being pro-gun is probably constitutional carry. While Missouri has managed to take things a bit further with its laws, permitless carry is far more likely to survive a constitutional challenge.
In Pennsylvania, they tend to have fairly decent gun laws that fall short of that gold standard. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that they have an anti-Second Amendment governor who isn’t likely to help expand gun rights.
So what happened when Pennsylvania tried to take that next step? Pretty much what you’d expect.
Gov. Tom Wolf followed through on his veto threat Thursday, rejecting Republican-penned legislation to allow people to carry a firearm openly or concealed, without a permit, adding to his total for Pennsylvania’s chief executive with the most vetoes in more than four decades.
Wolf, a Democrat, called the bill “dangerous.” Wolf’s veto comes amid a tide of deadly gun violence in Philadelphia, the state’s largest city, and political finger-pointing over blame.
“This legislation, which eliminates the requirement for individuals to obtain a license before carrying a concealed firearm, will only exacerbate gun violence and jeopardize the safety of all Pennsylvanians,” Wolf said in a news release.
I mean, as it stands, criminals are carrying guns without permits all the time. The law against them doing so doesn’t seem to be helping all that much, now has it? Constitutional carry isn’t exactly going to empower criminals to do what they’re already doing.
Wolf’s arguments don’t really hold any water in light of how little permitting requirements have done to curb violence in cities like Philadelphia.
But it constitutional carry might just empower the residents of Pennsylvania to be more proactive about their safety simply because they can without jumping through hoops.
But what about this bill? Is there still hope? Not really.
Throughout his time in office, Wolf has issued 52 vetoes so far. Now, how many have the Pennsylvania General Assembly overridden? Zero. None. Nadda. Zilch.
While Republicans have firm control of the legislature, they don’t have a two-thirds majority needed to override a veto. They would need Democrats to cross the lines and vote to override.
Figure the odds of that happening.
So it looks like Wolf’s veto will be safe, at least for now. However, things like this will likely hurt the next Democratic challenger. After all, Wolf has made it clear he has no interest in negotiating with Republicans or compromising with them, so the voters may well decide that it’s time to elect a Republican who can actually work with the legislature.
Then the state might actually get constitutional carry.
Until then, residents will just have to navigate the current system. Granted, there are worse systems to navigate–looking at you, California and New Jersey–but it’s still less than ideal. If you’re one of the residents impacted, just remember this when it’s time to elect your next governor. Elections have consequences, after all, so it’s important you do what you can to make it so the consequences work out in your favor.