U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Constitutional Carry is advancing in Pennsylvania. Senate Bill 565 is a strong Constitutional Carry bill, which mostly removes current prohibitions on carrying concealed, the requirement for a permit to carry openly or concealed in Philadelphia, and maintains the possibility of obtaining an optional license to carry if one is desired.
On November 9, 2021, the Pennsylvania Senate passes Senate Bill 565 by a vote of 29 to 21.
On November 17, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 565 by a vote of 107 to 92.
The bill will almost certainly be vetoed by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (D). From wgal.com:
Opponents pointed out the proposal is unlikely to be enacted, as Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s office said he will veto the legislation, and argued the bill would make people less safe by making guns more readily accessible.
Senate Bill 565 started in the Senate on April 16, 2021. Here is the short synopsis:
An Act amending Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in firearms and other dangerous articles, repealing provisions relating to firearms not to be carried without a license, providing for license not required, further providing for prohibited conduct during emergency, repealing provisions relating to carrying firearms on public streets or public property in Philadelphia, providing for sportsman’s firearm permit, further providing for licenses and repealing provisions relating to proof of license and exception.
The General Assembly states the purpose of the bill. They say most firearms laws are ineffectual:
The General Assembly finds that:
(1) The laws in existence regulating firearms ownership, possession and use LICENSING are ineffectual in preventing crime and only interfere with the natural rights of law-abiding citizens.
(2) It is necessary to codify the inherent right to the carrying of firearms, whether openly or concealed, and that the right to self-defense is an inherent natural right that shall not be questioned as stated in section 21 of Article I of the Constitution of Pennsylvania.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Section 6106 of Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes is repealed:
Then follows a long list of requirements for licensing and exceptions for the usual list of the police, military, constables, etc. After that list, which is to be deleted upon passage of the bill, we see the following text, which would become law:
Section 2. Title 18 is amended by adding a section to read:
§ 6106.2. License not required.
(a) Declaration.–Notwithstanding any other provision of law, every person present in this Commonwealth WHO IS NOT PROHIBITED FROM POSSESSING FIREARMS UNDER FEDERAL LAW OR THE LAWS OF THIS COMMONWEALTH shall have an affirmative, fundamental and constitutional right to keep and bear firearms, including the right to carry openly or concealed, carry loaded or unloaded, train with, transport, possess, use, acquire, purchase, transfer, inherit, buy, sell, give or otherwise dispose of or receive any firearm or self-defense device without a license , permission or restriction TO CARRY A FIREARM of any kind from or by this Commonwealth or any of its political subdivisions.
(b) Optional license.–Obtaining a license to carry a firearm under this chapter shall be optional. The voluntary nature of the license shall not be construed to require that any person obtain a license to carry a firearm under this chapter.
Then the law shows how an optional license may be applied for and obtained.
These are significant movements to restore the right to keep and bear arms to Ohio.
Yes, Democrat Governor Wolf will likely veto the law. There are probably not enough votes to override the veto. A veto in Pennsylvania requires a 2/3 vote in the General Assembly. There are 50 senators and 203 representatives in the General Assembly.
The long-term consequences bode well for Constitutional Carry. All the people who voted for Constitutional Carry have made the psychological leap to do so. They have made their decision. It will be difficult to backtrack on it.
The votes for Constitutional Carry are likely to be there after the 2022 elections. If there is a Republican governor in Pennsylvania in 2022, the chances of passing Constitutional Carry look very good.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.