HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – It was spring when the House made history and passed gun safety legislation, but as winter approaches, the Senate has yet to pull the trigger and advocates are calling on them.
A new digital clock at the Capitol shows 175 days and counting since the House passed gun safety legislation. 175 days, says CeaseFirePA, with no action in the Senate.
“And since then, too many Pennsylvanians have continued to die, and they didn’t need to,” said Adam Garber, executive director of CeaseFirePA.
House Bill 1018 establishes extreme risk protection orders to take guns away from people in mental health crisis. House Bill 714 would require background checks even for privately purchased guns.
“That’s why we’re here today, to implore Senate leaders to come to the table and work with us to pass this overwhelmingly popular, common-sense firearms policy,” said state Rep. Dan Frankel (D).
But neither persuasion nor a watch seem to be enough.
“The constitutionality, enforceability and practicality is something I continue to have concerns about and do not plan to move forward with the bills,” said Sen. Lisa Baker (R), chair of the Judiciary Committee.
Republican Senator Baker chairs the Judiciary Committee. She won’t move these bills, she says, because she believes they don’t meet legal requirements in Pennsylvania.
“If you look at the Constitution of Pennsylvania, the right to bear arms cannot be questioned,” Baker said. “This is different from many other states that have issued orders to protect against extreme risks.”
But Democrats, emboldened by last week’s election results, insist that Republicans who block such bills are the ones at extreme risk.
Read the poll on that,” said Sen. Anthony Williams (D). “Read the survey about it. The time is now. And if not now, by the way, we won’t beg. We don’t beg. We ask. But be very clear. The public will be demanding in the next election cycle.”
If we reach December 8th without Senate action, it will be 200 days since the House passed these bills, and CeaseFirePA promises vigils across the Commonwealth.