Gov. Wolf and Democrats push back on gun bills introduced in the Senate. GOP says their concern is overblown

Written by on October 27, 2021

Gov. Wolf and Democrats push back on gun bills introduced in the Senate. GOP says their concern is overblown

By Sam Dunklau / WITF

October 27, 2021

Gov. Wolf and Democratic lawmakers do not like legislation introduced by Republicans. (Photo by Somchai Kongkamsri from Pexels)

Some state Senate Democrats and Gov. Tom Wolf are crying foul over a pair of bills that would ease rules for Pennsylvania gun owners. 

Senate Republicans behind those bills said they aren’t advancing anytime soon.

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Democrats and gun safety advocates said gun violence is too big a problem to be talking about cutting back restrictions.

Sen. Anthony Williams (D-Delaware/Philadelphia) said those ideas fly in the face of what he calls a violence “epidemic:”

“And has gone on so long without account that we’ve gotten used to the death count, be it on the streets of Philadelphia, be it in a place of faith, or be it with someone who served this nation, and decides because of the stress of doing that, decides to take their life,” Williams said.

But two bills along those lines were introduced this month.

Legislation from Sen. Wayne Langerholc (R-Bedford/Cambria/Clearfield) would ban local and county governments from suing gun manufacturers and dealers for making or selling guns.

Another bill from Sen. Cris Dush (R-Cameron/Clearfield/Clinton/Elk/Jefferson/McKean)  would make licenses and permits optional for legal gun owners, which advocates say opens the door for a new wave of gun violence.

Carol Lastowka, a gun owner from Delaware County, said she thinks those ideas go too far:

“I know that it’s my responsibility to use my firearms responsibly and safely. Permitless carry encourages the opposite of responsible gun ownership,” Lastowka said. 

Erica Wright, a Senate Majority spokeswoman, said fear over the bills isn’t warranted, since the GOP isn’t planning to consider them anytime soon.

Wolf has vowed to veto them if they get to his desk, and said lawmakers should instead be zeroing in on ideas he’s championed, like reporting lost or stolen firearms to authorities within three days.

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