By: José Niño
House Bill 565, Pennsylvania’s Constitutional Carry bill, was passed in the Pennsylvania State House this week.
Now, HB 565 will be headed to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk.
This bill would scrap any local-level permit requirements for open carrying a firearm, while also lifting the statewide requirement for lawful citizens to obtain a permit to concealed carry a firearm.
Republicans overwhelmingly supported the bill, while Democrats were largely in opposition to it.
Republican House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff offered his thoughts on HB 565:
“The legislation to assert Pennsylvanian’s constitutional right to carry firearms without a permit protects the Second Amendment and Article 1, sec. 21 state constitutional rights of legal gun owners. The bill changes nothing regarding who can legally own a gun and takes nothing away from law enforcement from going after those owning and using guns illegally.”
Democrat State Representatives Jordan Harris expressed his opposition to HB 565:
“We’re wasting time on a piece of legislation that’s gonna be vetoed. We know there’s no votes to override the governor’s veto, we’re literally wasting time when Pennsylvanians have sent us here to address the issues that are of the utmost importance to them and I personally believe this is not one of them.”
The partisan makeup of the Pennsylvania General Assembly made it relatively easy for Constitutional Carry to be passed. In the Senate, 28 of the 50 members are Republicans. In a similar vein, 113 of the 203 House members are Republicans.
Gov. Wolf has vowed to veto Constitutional Carry.
AWR Hawkins of Breitbart News listed off the other states who have Constitutional Carry on the books: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
According to Guns & Ammo magazine’s rankings for the best states for gun owners and those who engage in the concealed carry of handguns, Pennsylvania finds itself in 31st and 25th place, respectively.
The passage of HB 565 would allow Pennsylvania to make a significant improvement in its gun policies.
Realistically, Republicans will have to win the gubernatorial elections in 2022 and maintain a trifecta of Republican control in the state government for Constitutional Carry to become law in the Keystone State.