House panel OKs bills to thwart gun control efforts

CNHI Harrisburg Bureau The House judiciary committee on Tuesday approved legislation that would revive a law that barred local governments from passing gun laws stricter than the state’s and a separate bill that would allow gun owners to carry concealed handguns without getting a permit. Gov. Tom Wolf opposes both bills, his spokeswoman Lyndsay Kensinger said. More than 300,000 Pennsylvanians obtained permits to carry concealed firearms in 2020, according to the state police, and more than 1 million Pennsylvanians have concealed carry permits. State Rep. Aaron Bernstine, R-Lawrence County, said that under House Bill 659, Pennsylvania would become the 22nd state to allow citizens to carry concealed firearms without getting a permit. The state Legislature in Texas approved a similar bill on Monday and Gov. Greg Abbott has said he will sign it. Among neighboring states, only West Virginia allows gun owners to carry concealed firearms without a permit. State Rep. Matt Dowling, R-Fayette County, said that House bill 979 would revive the pre-emption provisions of Act 192 of 2014 which were struck down by the state Supreme Court in 2016. In that decision, the court ruled that the law had been passed illegally in violation of state law requiring that bills be limited to a single subject. "The substance (of the 2014 law) was not called into question” in the court’s decision, Dowling said. Dowling said the legislation is needed to ensure that there is uniform gun law across the state so that gun owners don’t find themselves […]

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