A House bill that prevents any Pennsylvania governor from restricting firearms during an emergency received bipartisan support in the house leading to its passage. Bill 1747 passed the house with a 127-74 vote despite opposition from several anti-gun groups that called for stricter measures on gun ownership. PA chapter of Moms Demand Action and CeaseFirePA said more gun rights would lead to more deaths.
“It will put our communities at a greater risk of preventable gun violence during a pandemic,” said Erin Buchner of PA chapter of Moms Demand Action.
Despite the opposition, legislators from both parties said the measure was necessary to protect people’s rights to self-defense and protection of property during periods of crisis. Twenty-one representatives from Democratic Party voted in support of the bill while two Republicans, Reps. Tom Murt and Todd Stephens from Montgomery County, opposed the proposal.
Rep. Matthew Dowling (R-Fayette) said there was no excuse to ban firearms during emergencies because the constitution grants citizens the rights to bear arms.
“I really don’t think there’s reason for the governor to have this power over guns,” said Dowling. “We are given the ability to keep and bear arms by the Constitution.”
The new law overturns the current provision that bans firearm owners from openly carrying during emergencies unless under exceptional circumstances. It also removes firearms from the list of potential items that could be regulated by the governor during emergencies. Gov. Tim Wolf had ordered the closure of gun stores after the declaration of emergency in March but reopened them after receiving advice from Judges who ruled in his favor.
The current proposal would ensure that passing such orders would become a challenge in the future. Additionally, the law would give gun rights an upper hand in the courts should any governor decide to apply other provisions to ban firearms during emergencies.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is pushing universal background checks in our state, and if left unchecked, it will not be long until we see bills like this getting traction in Austin. Texas is embarrassingly ranked 29th for gun rights, and with the help of the political elites in Austin, we will surely rank among New York, California, and Illinois if left to their own devices. Please join our fight today, and help us restore Texas' place as the standard for the U.S.
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