There’s a Pennsylvania paradox when it comes to gun control

There's a Pennsylvania paradox when it comes to gun control

America has endured 154 mass shootings so far this year – from Parkland, Fla., to Annapolis, Md. Despite this national carnage, nothing so far has moved the Pennsylvania Legislature to pass even the most innocuous gun-control legislation. Clearly the answer is not lack of opportunity. Scores and scores of gun-control measures are routinely introduced into the Legislature, to no avail. Good old-fashioned interest group politics explains some of the Legislature’s paralysis. Pennsylvania is rich with both sportsmen and sportsmen lobbies. The NRA alone is arguably the most powerful lobby in the state, making gun measures still the third rail of state politics. This year, however, several gun-control measures seemed ripe for passage. These were not the perennially divisive bills such as those that would limit the sale of automatic or semi-automatic weapons or seek to restrict handgun ownership. Instead, they were the product of a broadly bipartisan consensus that raised only modest controversy. These bills included HB 273, which would allow people to voluntarily put themselves on a no-buy firearm list; and HB 2463, which would create a legal process to reinstate the right to buy firearms to those who temporarily lost that right through emergency involuntary commitment for mental health issues. Among these bills, the one appearing most likely to pass (HB 2060) was designed to stop domestic abusers under protection-from-abuse orders from having access to guns. Similar legislation earlier passed the state Senate unanimously. In the House, though, some objections were raised because of evidentiary and other […]

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