Pennsylvania House passes 2 of 4 anti-gun bills

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The state of Pennsylvania has been pretty pro-gun. Despite having Philadelphia and Pittsburg–two major urban centers which one would have expected to shift the state’s politics long ago–it’s mostly remained pro-gun.


However, on Monday, the state House took a couple of steps to change that. Despite that, it didn’t go quite as badly as it could have.

The Pennsylvania House voted Monday on a package of gun control bills – the first such measures in years to be considered by the full chamber.

Democrats could only get two of the four proposals passed.

Lawmakers voted in favor of requiring background checks for private sales of long guns.

Representatives also approved a measure allowing judges to use emergency orders to have law enforcement temporarily seize the firearms of someone in crisis.

Rep. Jennifer O’Mara, D-165 and the chief sponsor of the Emergency Risk Protection Order bill, said passing the legislation was important to her because her father died by suicide with a gun when she was 13.

“We know that in 19 states where this has passed, it has been proven to lower suicide rates,” she said.

Not necessarily. Most of the studies I’ve seen suggest it lowers gun suicide rates. That’s a different animal entirely because suicides are committed with far more than firearms.

The bills that failed to pass, at least so far, were a mandatory storage bill and a bill requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms.

The fact that neither of these is really that enforceable probably didn’t help with their defeat.

At the end of the day, though, Pennsylvania isn’t taking a step forward here. Universal background checks will also be damn near impossible to enforce, particularly since there’s no kind of registration scheme in place to know who has what in the first place.


“Did you sell him this gun after X date?”

“Nope. Three days before it.”

“Well, damn.”

I’m sorry, but unless you know the gun was originally bought after the law went into effect, there’s not a whole lot of guarantee that such a scenario isn’t what played out.

Red flag laws are problematic for a number of reasons, one of which is the lack of due process. The other part is that you’re saying this person is too dangerous to be trusted with their constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms but can be trusted to walk around. That makes absolutely no sense to me.

If he’s dangerous, then treat him as such and get him (or her) help so they can be a productive member of society and no threat to anyone.

Leaving people like that on the street just means it’s a matter of time before they use some other method to kill innocent people or take their own life if that’s what they really want to do.

Further, it’s likely to drive a lot of people deeper into their own issues. They might not talk about what’s going on with them out of fear they’ll lose their guns.

Pennsylvania is taking steps. They’re just all the wrong steps.

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