Pennsylvania Second Amendment IssuesLast Updated: 04/21/2017
For years Pennsylvania has been wasting millions of dollars supporting a state-specific background check system that can be replaced with sole use of the federal National Instant Check System. In addition to the wasted taxpayer money, the PICS system has for years been used and abused by politicians and bureaucrats to skirt Pennsylvania law against keeping a gun owner registry. It is our goal to evaluate PICS and determine whether it can justify it's continued cost.
Constitutional Carry (Two-Tiered) - HB170
Constitutional Carry creates a presumption that if you can legally possess a firearm then a 'license' is not required within the state, concealed or not, for law abiding citizens. When a state or other jurisdiction has adopted Constitutional Carry, it is legal for law-abiding citizens to carry a handgun, firearm, or other weapon concealed with or without an applicable permit or license.
Further, this law decriminalizes the carry of handguns for self-defense purposes without a license, and puts the burden upon a prosecutor to prove criminal intent of a person carrying a handgun. Also, there are no defined statutory limits as to ‘how’ a legally carried handgun should be carried openly or concealed; thus it is considered Constitutional Carry.
This legislation creates a two-tiered system with the carrying of firearms for lawful purposes:
- Option 1 gives citizens the ability to obtain a (LTCF) License To Carry Firearm permit that is valid throughout Pennsylvania and would provide for carrying firearms in other states.
- Option 2 recognizes that Commonwealth citizens have a fundamental constitutional right to keep and bear arms (Article 1, Section 21) and that ‘no LTCF' is required for law abiding citizens to carry a firearm throughout Pennsylvania.
Strengthening Castle Doctrine / Disparity of Force in self-defense protection - HB167
While Pennsylvania generally has very reasonable laws relating to the Use of Force and lawful self-defense, a current quirk in the wording of the law creates ambiguity with regards to self-defense where force disparity is not as clear as an attacker with a weapon capable of inflicting serious bodily harm. This proposal would make it clear under Pennsylvania law that a disparity in strength, size, and number of attackers can constitute a threat of serious bodily harm or death.
Local communities have been enacting, or maintaining, gun laws that violate PA Law prohibiting these laws. This is in violation of Title 18, Section 6120 which is clear and unequivocating in this prohibition with the penalty being found in Title 18, section 6119. Current Pennsylvania law was initially enacted in 1974 and since this law is in the PA Crimes Codes the enforcement of this prohibition falls to County District Attorneys who have failed miserably in holding these communities accountable for violating PA Law.
What these bills would do, respectively, is amend either Title 18, Section 6120 (HB 671) or Title 53 (SB 5) with clear language to add standing for individuals and organizations to sue communities which are in violation of the law preemptively and prior to actually being prosecuted. Should an organization or individual win a legal action against a community acting in a criminal fashion this legislation would then provide for legal costs reimbursement.
Stop the Pennsylvania State Police Gun Registry - HB156
Under Pennsylvania law it is illegal for any government entity to maintain a registry of Pennsylvanian's guns. However, since 1931 the Pennsylvania State Police have maintained a registry of 'all' handgun purchasers in Pennsylvania. Since 1998 the PICS (Pennsylvania Instant Check System) has expanded the compilation of this "Record Of Sales (ROS) database". The PA Supreme Court, in 2004, made a politically correct decision that the Record Of Sales database was incomplete and let the PSP continue to accrue private gun owner information. Numerous anti-gun politicians have seen the weak foundation of the PA Supreme Court decision and have introduced numerous bills to 'legalize' the ROS collection of gun owner info. This bill will put a stop to such nonsense by clearly stating that such a database is a registry as prohibited by Pennsylvania law.
Concealed Carry Reciprocity Simplification - HB155
Currently, Pennsylvania's system for concealed carry permit reciprocity with other states is an overly complicated process that allows for potential abuse by politically motivated Attorneys General. This bill would streamline Pennsylvania's reciprocity system by simplifying how comparable laws from other states are reviewed and used to evaluate licensing requirements.
Correcting Firearm Transportation Laws (under development)
Due to poorly worded statutory language and definitions, there is common confusion about transporting firearms in Pennsylvania. We hope to clarify the wording and intent of the Uniform Firearms Act in order to provide gun owners with a clear understanding of how to legally transport firearms throughout the Commonwealth.
Targeting Violent Criminals Using Firearms in Crime - Offense Sentences - HB166
This proposal would ensure that criminals that commit violence with firearms serve their sentences consecutively, preventing abuse of the plea bargaining system that allows violent criminals to get out of jail sooner than they should.