Gun rights activists rally to move PA's new Dem majority

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File

Pennsylvania had a GOP-controlled legislature for a while. That changed, though, and now things like gun rights aren’t looking too good for a lot of people. After all, a lot of the state’s population lives in places like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and those are not exactly pro-gun bastions.


As a result, the state’s politics may have shifted.

For a number of gun rights activists, though, that’s even more reason to rally.

Organizers warned at an annual gun rights rally at the Pennsylvania Capitol on Monday that with a slim Democratic majority in the House, there could be more attempts to pass gun control measures, weeks after Democrats narrowly advanced the first gun control legislation in years that Republicans criticized as attempts to “dwindle away at our Second Amendment rights.”

Gun rights supporters “begrudgingly” find themselves at a disadvantage with Democrats empowered by a one-vote majority in the House, said one of the event’s organizers, Rep. Abby Major, a Republican from Armstrong County.

“Expect more and more attempts to take away your rights this year,” she told about a hundred attendees gathered on the Capitol steps.

Last month, the House advanced two pieces of gun legislation that would allow authorities to temporarily seize firearms and expand background checks for gun buyers.

Democrats have described the proposals as relatively moderate measures to cut down on gun trafficking, suicide deaths, accidental shootings and day-to-day violence. Republicans oppose the bills, saying they punish law-abiding gun owners.


The problem is that we’ve explained repeatedly how these measures do none of that, for one thing. For another, these are still infringements on our right to keep and bear arms.

For gun rights activists in Pennsylvania, this is important. As noted above, Democrats hold a slim majority. At least some of those Democrats were elected in places where they’re not as anti-gun as Pittsburgh and Philly. It’s good to remind them that these measures aren’t “moderate” by any stretch of the imagination.

Moreover, it’s a good idea to remind them that gun rights supporters aren’t fans of infringements.

After all, Democrats in vulnerable positions can’t afford to alienate the political middle, and it’s not difficult to frame these bills as doing things the middle only thinks they want up until they read the text.

Universal background checks, for example, often mean you can’t even loan a firearm to someone. It means you can’t sell a gun to your sibling, even, despite having known them your entire life and knowing they’re not prohibited.


That’s not popular at all with people, but it rarely makes the news reports touting these measures.

But gun rights activists will be more than happy to pass that information along during the next election cycle. Those Democrats in purple districts might want to think about that and this rally is a good opportunity to remind them that a few words on a poll don’t tell the whole story.

So I’m glad to see folks in Pennsylvania refusing to roll over and play dead because of the outcome of the last election.

After all, the next one might go very differently.

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