Pa. Democrats push gun control legislation; Republicans push back

Citing the December tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, a group of Pennsylvania Democrats unveiled a series of bills Wednesday aimed at curbing gun violence.

Among the proposals: a ban on assault weapons (police and active military would be exempt), requiring people with a firearms license to obtain liability insurance and rolling back the Castle Doctrine. The proposed change would make it illegal to use force to protect yourself or your property if you’re able to retreat or if a law enforcement official tells you not to pursue a suspect.

“The tragedy that happened in Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary School has made a lot of people take a second look at the positions that they had,” said Rep. Ronald Waters (D-191st).

To view the various bills: click here for assault weapons ban, here for Castle Doctrine amendment, here for firearm liability insurance requirement, here for bill requiring neighborhood watch groups to register with the state attorney general, here for Child Firearm Safety Lock Act, and here for mandatory two-year sentence for carrying a firearm without a license.

“What we’re trying to do is no threat to the Second Amendment,” said Waters. “We want people to rest assured that we are not in any way thinking about taking away the right to own guns.”

State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-12th) disagreed, saying the bills have no chance of getting through the Republican-controlled Legislature.

“There’s no answer to the problem through trying to pass additional gun control,” said Metcalfe.

He’s sponsored a bill of his own that would make it a felony to enforce any new federal gun-control legislation in Pennsylvania. To view the bill, click here.

A Quinnipiac University poll released last week found a majority of Pennsylvania voters support some proposed federal gun-control measures.

  • 95 percent support requiring background checks for all gun purchases.
  • 60 percent support a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons.
  • 59 percent support a nationwide ban on the sale of magazines with more than 10 rounds.

Waters said, “We want people to rest assured that we are not in any way thinking about taking away the right to own guns.”