PA House Judiciary Committee passes new gun control measures

January 18 – While the overall Pennsylvania House of Representatives is on a break because of an alleged roof leak in the Chamber, committee meetings are still underway. 

Yesterday, the PA House Judiciary Committee passed legislation that would ban sales of automatic and semi-automatic guns in the state. 

Five bills passed on party lines in the Judiciary. 

Keep in mind, the bills would still need to get through the full House and then make it through the Senate before getting to Governor Josh Shapiro’s desk. 

PA Representative Rob Kauffman said, “The problem is that when we’ve come up with ideas on law enforcement on going after the criminal element, I mean, look how Larry Krasner, the DA in Philly, enforces or does not, rather, enforce the law. They don’t want to look inward at how they can actually solve the issues of Philly. They want to look outward at our firearms and for instance, they like to talk about assault rifles or semi-automatic weapons. The AR-15 is one of the most popular sporting rifles in America, but that is on a list that they want to take away from Pennsylvanians, the ability to own.”

The bills may have gone a little farther than just not selling the guns. 

Kauffman said, “Not only did they want to look prospectively at some of these bills and say that you could not buy them in the future, they were truly looking at confiscation. I asked them (the Democrat majority of the committee) how do you plan for the disposition of these guns? What is the disposition of these guns once you make them illegal? They could not answer the question. So they’re looking at gun confiscation, but they could not tell me in this bill where they want to look back and say that those guns in your possession are now illegal, and you need to somehow get rid of them. They couldn’t tell me what the disposition of these weapons were. It is all political bluster. It’s all about politics. It has nothing to do with real governance because they don’t actually have the answers for the governance of these bills written in the bill.” 

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM asked, “So are they just looking for that sound bite?”

“Yes,” Kauffman confirmed. “It’s a political sound bite.” 

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “They just refuse to acknowledge that it’s the policies that they have favored and put into place and even things that filter down from the federal government through executive orders. They refuse to look at these policies to say this might be the problem for why we’re having so much violence. They refuse to look at the idea that we’ve lost any accountability for crimes committed and when you start doing it with small crimes, then people start committing larger crimes and then people feel untouchable, especially certain groups of people start feeling untouchable. If I’m not afraid and if I have no care for, people say, well, what about your permanent record? Well, there are people that don’t have any forethought of that or really don’t care, who just take advantage of these easing up on crime. Then you start seeing more of all crime including crime involving guns. It’s just ridiculous that they will not acknowledge that.”

Ryan added, “I keep going back to if you continue to do what you’re doing in Philly, then you get what you get. This is on you. If you continue to put Democrats back in and you wonder, well, why are my neighbors and why are my family members getting shot up and killed? Well, it’s because you keep putting Democrats back in. Philadelphia is a mess because elections have consequences. So enjoy what you have here. Maybe we build a fence around Philly here. It’s like upstate and downstate New York. It’s the same damn thing. You keep wondering, why is this happening in New York City? It’s because you put these people in office and you continue to do it over and over and you’re surprised at it.”

“Absolutely,” Kauffman agreed. “Twenty years ago, I looked at Philadelphia and I even thought of even taking my children there. We would go on outings there, you go to historic sites, you go to the sporting venues. Now would I take my granddaughter to downtown Philly? No, absolutely not. It makes me sad because these were some of the gems of the East Coast, gems of America, these cities. They were beautiful. They were safe. There was so much to do. There was so much culture. It was good stuff. And now, no, I love my Franklin County.”

Jansen said, “They’re only nibbling at the edges. Yeah, are there some real problems with lack of serial numbers on ghost guns? That’s nibbling at the edges of the little bit that might be involved in our bigger picture of gun violence, which is so much more controlled by these other laws we’re talking about that they, no, we’re not changing them.”

Kauffman noted, “There is no definition for a ghost gun. But what it is, these ghost guns are essentially gun enthusiasts who like to buy the parts of the guns. They like to assemble them. Every single lower is serialized. The lower, which is really the part of the gun that makes it a gun, but the reality is that those are serialized and if you have a serialized lower, you already went through the background check. You actually have to go through the process. It’s like you’re buying a firearm at a gun store. You have to go through that process. So if you have a non serialized lower, I believe that’s already an illegal gun.”