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:
UPDATE July 2, 2018
The PA House Judiciary Committee made substantive changes to HB 2060 (on guns in domestic violence situations) and voted to send it on to the full house. Unfortunately, PA Sen. Tom Killion, who developed the original legislation to address this issue, reports that the changes substantial weaken the intent of the bill.
Also approved were HB 2227 – Extreme Risk Protective Order; and HB 1872 (firing accelerators/bump stocks). The Judiciary Committee failed to approve HB 1400, which would have provided a background check for every gun purchase.
Unfortunately, the Legislature adjourned without the House considering these bills. As there are only nine legislative days scheduled for the fall, we are concerned that the Legislature will adjourn, once again, without having taken substantive action to address gun violence.
The best hope for substantive change is to vote for candidates for Congress and the PA legislature who are committed to passing bills designed to reduce gun violence.
Have you marked your calendar to make time to vote on Nov. 6? Elections matter. The direction our nation and commonwealth take are driven by who is elected.
We are working on a “gun sense” voter’s guide we will publish later this summer covering all Chester County PA Rep, PA Senate, US Congressman, US Senator – PA, and PA Governor races.
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.
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: Over 70 sponsors in the House; 12 in the Senate.
Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO): HB 2227 If passed, this would provide a mechanism to address situations where an individual demonstrates they are at extreme risk for harming themselves or others through possessing a gun. It would enable family and law enforcement to ask a Judge to temporarily prohibit such individuals from possessing firearms or ammunition. If the Court issues an ERPO, the individual will need to surrender firearms currently owned. In addition, the ERPO information will be sent to the PA State Police to prevent firearm purchase until the expiration of the Order. Status: With the House Judiciary Committee. Chester County Co-Sponsors: Reps. C. Comitta, W. Kampf, E. Roe.
“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.
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.