U.S.A. — Pennsylvania’s General Assembly is back in Harrisburg and at the top of the list for consideration is a gun control package Democrats appear determined to pass, and they quickly did move two of their four bills Monday.
According to WGAL News, the wish list includes the following measures:
- Mandatory background checks on all private sales of long guns, which was passed Monday
- A bill allowing judges to issue emergency orders allowing authorities to “temporarily” disarm someone “in crisis,” the state’s version of a “red flag” law, which also was adopted by the Democrat House majority
Two other measures didn’t get the nod, at least so far, according to WGAL:
- A requirement that gun owners must report lost or stolen firearms within 72 hours
- A so-called “safe storage” mandate requiring gun owners to lock up or disable guns when not in use. Trigger locks would be sold with all long guns.
The debate started Monday, according to The Sentinel and Associated Press, which reported: “Democrats are using their razor thin one-vote majority in the House seeking to advance several bills they couch as relatively moderate.” They maintain this legislative package will help prevent suicides, reduce gun trafficking and accidental shootings. And they contend passage of these bills will also reduce crime; essentially the same arguments used by gun control proponents everywhere to advance their agenda.
The Sentinel report says representatives from Everytown for Gun Safety—the Michael Bloomberg-backed gun control lobbying group—says 19 states have so-called “red flag” laws now.
House Republicans, however, contend the bills will not likely prevent gun-related violent crime, since criminals don’t obey the law, and some suggested the measures might violate both the Pennsylvania and U.S. constitutions, according to WGAL.
The roadblock to complete passage may be the Pennsylvania Senate, which is still under Republican control and reconvenes Monday, June 5. As noted by The Sentinel, Senate Republicans have “historically been protective of gun rights, while working with Democrats in boosting funding for anti-violence and mental health programs.”
Democrats took control of the House earlier this year and the session began with a gun control push.
Pennsylvania is one more in a string of states where Democrats have been pushing the gun control agenda. Washington, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, California and New Mexico lawmakers all started working on new gun restrictions, while gun rights organizations have continued filing legal challenges to existing laws.
Freshman Democrat Gov. Josh Shapiro had promised to tighten Keystone State gun control laws, and earlier this year, Spotlight PA recalled those commitments included a ban on so-called “ghost guns.” Other items on Shapiro’s agenda include the measures House Democrats passed Monday: “universal background checks” and a “red flag” law. But the bills must still make it through the Senate, and there the momentum may stop.
Last year, Philadelphia saw 8 percent fewer homicides than it did in 2021, according to WHYY. The city logged 516 slayings, down from the record of 562 set in 2021.
However, out west in Pittsburgh, there were 149 murders, according to police department data. It was one of the city’s deadliest years, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In Allegheny County, which encompasses Pittsburgh, WPXI reported there were 129 homicides last year.
This data provides talking points for gun control proponents, while it also suggests adopting new gun restrictions may not have the desired results. Only time will tell, and there is no guarantee any of the gun control bills will ever reach Shapiro’s desk.
Meanwhile, out west, the mayor of Albuquerque, N.M. is promising to take action in the wake of relative inaction by the State Legislature. In his “State of the City” message over the weekend, Democrat Mayor Tim Keller declared “This summer we are cracking down on guns. We are going to triangulate existing restrictions around schools to aggressively target any crime with a gun anywhere in downtown Albuquerque.”
That may take some magic since New Mexico has a preemption clause in its state constitution, Article II, Section 6, which reads, “No law shall abridge the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes, but nothing herein shall be held to permit the carrying of concealed weapons. No municipality or county shall regulate, in any way, an incident of the right to keep and bear arms.”
In other states, there are preemption statutes which are constantly under attack by Democrats, but in New Mexico, it would take an amendment to the state constitution to make that happen.
Keller’s remarks came just days after a deadly triple homicide occurred in Farmington, in which three older women were killed. Other people were wounded and police killed the suspect.
About Dave Workman
Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.