The Pennsylvania Legislative Process
The link below provides a brief overview of the steps in the PA Legislative Process.
For a more detailed overview, visit this site:
Bills We’re Tracking in the 2017-2018 PA Legislative Session:
Note: Following the tragic Parkland, FL shooting, there are a large number of bills being filed. Many of these will likely never make it to the floor for a debate or vote. We are tracking them and will update our listings and notify you as it becomes clear the bill is likely to move and action is needed.
There is broad agreement on increasing focus on keeping guns out of the hands of those who should not have them. These three bills would help accomplish that goal…
Domestic Violence Bill: SB 501. Update: 3/21/18 — An amended version of SB 501 was passed with a vote of 50-0! You may want to write and thank your senator for their support of this bill. In its amended form, this bill requires anyone with a PFA (protection from abuse order) to give up their firearms within 48 hours of the order being issued to a specific list of individuals, excluding friends or family members. Currently, a person for whom a PFA is issued has up to 60 days to turn over their firearm, and they may give it to relatives, friends or a variety of others. It also applies the same time frame for those convicted of misdemeanor domestic abuse. On the House side, representatives, Barrar, Comitta and Roe are co-sponsors of related bill HB 2060. We are waiting to hear if this will proceed to the House under bill — HB2060 –– or under another bill number.
Universal Background Check: HB 1400, SB 209 This bill would close the “long gun loophole” through which PA residents are able to purchase rifles (such as the military style AR-15) from private sellers without going through a background check. It will also provide one background check requirement for multiple purchases at a gun show. Status: The House Bill was Introduced in May and has over 60 cosponsors. The PA Senate Bill has 11 cosponsors.
Gun Violence Restraining Order: HB 2109 This legislation would give certain persons, including law enforcement officers, family or household members, the authority to petition the court for a firearm restraining order. The restraining order would prevent the subject of the petition from having a firearm in his custody or control, or purchasing, processing or receiving a firearm for up to one year. Status: With the House Judiciary Committee. Co-sponsor: Carolyn Comitta.
“Ban Bump Stocks” HB 1872, SB 1030 (There is a similar bill SB 969) Introduced following the Las Vegas massacre. One aspect of the bill would be to ban the sale of “bump stocks” which can give a semi-automatic rifle essentially rapid fire capability similar to an automatic rifle. Co-sponsors are: PA Reps Barrar, Comitta, Lewis, and Roe; PA Senators Killion, McGarrigle, and Rafferty.
An October 2017 Quinnipiac University poll found high levels of support for a ban on modifications to make a semi-automatic weapon fire more like an automatic weapon with 73% of voters overall supporting it, including 67 percent among voters in gun owning households.
See a demonstration of a “bump stock” at the link below.
Pre-Emption HB 671, SB 5 This bill would allow any individual or organization to file a lawsuit if a municipality has any gun regulation that is more restrictive than the state regulation, even if there is no proof of damages. The municipality being sued would face stiff legal fees in defense and would possibly have to pay the legal fees of the person who filed the lawsuit.
The PA Senate has passed this bill. (We were in opposition.) Voting “for” was Senator Rafferty. The rest of Chester County senators voted against.
The PA House also passed this bill. (We were in opposition.) Voting “for” were Reps.: Barrar, Corbin, Lawrence, and Roe. (Reps. Lewis and and Hennessey did not vote.)
It is likely this measure will be vetoed by Governor Wolf, followed by an attempt to over-ride his Veto. Therefore, if your Senator or Rep. voted to support this bill or did not vote, please contact them and ask them to vote “NO” to over-ride the Veto. (Sen. Rafferty; Reps. Barrar, Corbin, Hennessey, Lawrence and Lewis.)
If your Senator or representative voted “against”, please thank them. (Senators Dinniman, Killion, McGarrigle; Reps. Comitta, Kampf, Milne.)
Guns in Schools: SB 383, HB 870 This bill would enable local school boards to allow the carry of loaded weapons in schools by school personnel. Those personnel would need to be licensed to carry a concealed gun (which is easily obtained), be approved by the School Board and have met defined firearm training requirements. Status: This bill has passed, with amendments, the Senate, although not with a veto proof majority (good news as Gov. Wolf is expected to veto if it gets to his desk). All Chester County senators voted “no.” It will next be considered by the House.
Elimination of PICS – the PA Instant Background Check System: HB 763, SB 224 This bill argues that the PICS is not needed because of the Federal NICS – National Instant Background Check System. PA State police run PICS. They are against this bill. The PICS system is a more complete and up to date database of PA residents who are not eligible to purchase a gun. The PA State police run PICS very efficiently, with typically a rapid response time. In addition, with the PA system, there is no time limit on the background check completion. The gun purchaser must wait until the check is finalized. NICS has a three-day window to complete background check. If it is not complete within three days, the gun purchaser may complete the purchase. This is called the “Charleston Loophole” because of the tragic death of nine victims in the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. The shooting was perpetrated by a purchaser who got the gun after three days, but before the background check was completed. In PA, with PICS, this purchase would not have been completed. Status: HB 763 is in the House Judiciary Committee with 63 cosponsors. SB 224 is in the Senate Judiciary Committee with 14 cosponsors.
Lost & Stolen Gun Reporting: HB 832 Currently if a gun is lost or stolen, the owner has no requirement to report the loss to a law enforcement official. This bill would require such reporting within 72 hours of discovery. This has been an effective tool in combating gun fencing and gun trafficking, enabling prosecution of gun fencers by eliminating the excuse of loosing or having a gun stolen when a gun used in a crime is traced back to them. Status: In the House Judiciary Committee with 15 cosponsors.
For More information on a Bill: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/
Have an opinion you want to express?
Find your PA state legislators here.
When you contact a legislator, consider what your brief message is (please support or please oppose and the Bill #), and what you are asking. You might consider the following:
1) Will the legislator co-sponsor or at a minimum support the bill? (Or, will they oppose the bill if that is your view.)
2) Will the legislator publish their position on their website and in their mass communications with constituents?
3) Will the legislator work to influence party leaders to bring the bill out of committee and to a vote on the floor?
Elected officials tell us that hearing from their constituents is a key consideration in their voting decisions.