Pa. gun safety laws. House are marginal

Hours after hundreds of gun safety advocates gathered in the state capitol, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted down two bills: one banning machine gun conversion devices and another aimed at curbing gun trade.

Household Accounts 335 AND 2206 both were rejected by a 101-100 vote Tuesday, with state Rep. Frank Burns (D-Cambria) joining all Republicans in opposition.

“Today, 500 Pennsylvanians from more than 45 counties and three-quarters of the state’s legislative districts showed that the vast majority of our Commonwealth is demanding safer communities,” Adam Garber, executive director of CeaseFirePA Action, said in a statement to the Capital-Star. “Also today, a handful of radical lawmakers opposed a massive movement of survivors, youth, medical professionals and interfaith leaders, instead authorizing illegal machine guns and firearms trafficking to continue killing Pennsylvanians.”

“We will hold them accountable for their breach of duty to keep us safe, and we will not stop until we can all live free from gun violence,” Garber added.

Although both bills failed on Tuesday, House Majority Leader Matt Bradford (D-Montgomery) and Rep. Dan Miller (D-Allegheny) filed a motion to reconsider them.

State Rep. Ben Sanchez (D-Montgomery), who sponsored House Bill 335stated on the House floor before the vote that the legislation would prohibit the future sale and purchase of accelerated trigger actuators like the one used in the worst mass shooting in the U.S. story at the 2017 Las Vegas Country Music Festival.

“Accelerated trigger actuators, such as Glock stocks and switches, accelerate the rate of fire of semi-automatic firearms, simulating the rate of fire of a machine gun,” Sanchez said. “Madam Marshal! This bill clearly states that machine guns have no place in a civilized society.”

Sanchez also argued that other states and the federal government have taken action to ban trigger actuators, including Republican governors and former president Donald Trump. Sanchez said banning trigger actuators should not be a partisan issue.

House Minority Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) said he was not voting because the issue is already covered by the National Firearms Act. In February The U.S. Supreme Court heard the complaint in connection with the ban on bump stocks introduced during the Trump administration.

“I understand the issue of gun violence,” Cutler said. “I understand the desire to place blame on inanimate objects like firearms, and that is exactly what this bill seeks to do. And that’s why it won’t work.”

State Rep. Aaron Bernstine (R-Lawrence) also urged a “no” vote, arguing that “we don’t seem to know what this bill even is, other than a violation of the Second Amendment.”

House Majority Leader Matt Bradford (D-Montgomery) spoke in favor of the bill and cited support from Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele, who heads the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association. Bradford argued that local district attorneys cannot prosecute federal crimes and this legislation would give them another tool to combat crime.

State Rep. Anthony Bellmon (Philadelphia), who sponsored House Bill 2206said its regulations were developed in cooperation with law enforcement agencies to streamline the process of submitting gun sales records to the Pennsylvania State Police.

Bellman said the bill would also codify the track and trace program developed by then-Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro in 2019 to assist law enforcement track crime and weapons, prevent gun trafficking, reduce straw purchases and make communities safer.

“Let’s be clear: This bill creates no list, no database, no registry,” Bellmon said. “This bill simply streamlines a process that already exists.”

“This merely modernizes our existing processes by requiring that documentation currently sent to the State Police be submitted electronically,” Bellmon added. “Delays in filing are dangerous to our law enforcement and make our communities less safe.”

State Representative Stephanie Borowicz (Clinton) stated that the purpose of the legislation was to inform the government about who owns firearms.

“The only reason the government would want to know everything we own and how much of it we have would be to take away everything and every weapon we own,” Borowicz said.

Tuesday wasn’t the first time Democrat-backed gun safety legislation failed, as Burns joined Republicans. IN In May 2023, Burns was also the only Democrat to vote with Republicansdefeating legislation that would require gun owners to report lost and stolen guns to police.

House of Representatives vote on gun safety bills highlights Democrats’ ‘modest majority’

In the hours before the vote, CeaseFirePA Action celebrated the passage of legislation that has moved forward since Democrats regained control of the House in the 2022 elections.

Previously, Garber had only said this one law on gun safety has passed by the Pennsylvania House for the past 15 years.

Since then, Garber said three bills have been passed, including one that would provide extreme risk protection orders to provide family members with lifesaving tools to prevent gun suicides, universal background checks to make sure every AR15 is first subject to a background check, and a ghost gun ban that will prevent the firing of untraceable firearms.

He expressed confidence that both bills presented to the House on Tuesday would be passed, but said the Legislature had more work to do.

Garber and others put the onus on the GOP-controlled Senate to introduce the legislation.

“Look, we need to elect more Democrats to the Senate,” Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) said at the rally. “Three more Democrats in the Senate and you have my commitment.”

“My plan is that if Senate Democrats run the Senate, these solutions will be on the Senate floor in the first week in Harrisburg, and we will be there every day voting on these solutions until Republicans join us,” Costa added. .

For the past two weeks, the main topic of conversation in the capital has been the issue of gun safety. While CeaseFirePA held a rally on Tuesday, gun rights advocates held a rally The second amendment rally last week on the steps of the Capitol.

Get in Touch


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Latest Posts