Reaction after Senate backs Second Amendment bills

Regional News

REGIONAL, Pa. (WTAJ) — Tuesday evening, the Pennsylvania Senate passed two bills that support second amendment rights within the Commonwealth.

“These are our constitutional rights that are afforded by not only our state constitution, but our federal constitution,” said Senator Judy Ward, R-30. “They should be honored.”

Senate Bill 449 was introduced by Senator Wayne Langerholc Jr. (R) serving Bedford, Blair, and Cambria Counties. The bill allows local governments to be sued for not following the existing state law regulating firearms.

“We really shouldn’t have to be here addressing this issue if townships, counties, municipalities, would just honor the existing law because it’s in statute,” said Senator Langerholc.

Bill 565, introduced by Senator Cris Dush serving Cameron, Elk, Jefferson, Mckean, Potter, Tioga, and Clearfield (part) Counties, would decriminalize carrying a gun without a license.

“So it really makes Pennsylvania the wild, wild west where anyone might have a firearm and therefore you really have to be concerned for your own safety,” said Adam Garber, executive director of CeaseFirePA.

Garber said this could put a dangerous power in anyone’s hands.

“What we’ve seen is when that’s passed in other states, gun violence and homicides have rised significantly,” said Garber. “It puts a serious danger for the public and for the enforcers of our laws.”

Senators in support disagree.

“These two pieces of legislation do not endanger public safety, just the opposite is true,” said Ward. “FBI data shows us… in areas where law abiding citizens have the right to keep and bear arms, those communities are safer communities.” 

Senator Ward said these issues are what’s important to many citizens in Pennsylvania.

“Those rights are very sacred to people,” said Ward, who represents Blair, Fulton, and parts of Franklin, Cumberland, and Huntingdon counties.

The bills will now move to the House of Representatives.

Governor Wolf has said he will veto Bill 565 should it reach his desk.

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