HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM)– It was springtime when the state house made history and passed gun safety bills, but as winter approaches, the senate has yet to pull the trigger and advocates are calling them out.
175 days and counting, a new digital clock at the capitol shows, since the house passed gun safety legislation. 175 days, says CeaseFirePA, with no action in the Senate.
“And too many Pennsylvanians have continued to die since then, and they didn’t have to,” CeaseFirePA executive director Adam Garber said.
House Bill 1018 creates extreme risk protection orders to take guns from those in mental crisis. House Bill 714 would require background checks even for privately purchased guns.
“So we are here today to beg Senate leaders to come to the table and work with us to pass these overwhelmingly popular common sense firearms policies,” State Rep. Dan Frankel (D) said.
But neither cajoling nor a clock appears to be enough.
“The constitutionality and the enforceability and practicality are something that that I continue to have concerns about and do not have plans to advance the bills,” Senator Lisa Baker (R) chair of the judiciary committee said.
Republican Senator Baker chairs the judiciary committee. She won’t move those bills, she says, because she believes they don’t pass legal muster in Pa.
“When you look at Pennsylvania’s Constitution, about the right to bear arms shall not be questioned,” Baker said. “That differs from many of the other states that have enacted extreme risk protection orders.”
But Democrats, emboldened by last week’s election results, insist that Republicans blocking such bills are the ones at extreme risk.
Read the polling on this,” Senator Anthony Williams (D) said. “Read the polling on this. The time is now. And if not now, we’re not begging, by the way. We’re not begging. We’re asking. But be very clear. The next election cycle, the public will be demanding.”
If we get to Dec. 8 without any Senate action, that will be 200 days since the House passed those bills and CeaseFirePA is promising vigils across the commonwealth.