Friday, April 23, 2010

PA Gubernatorial Update - Guvs on Guns

Back in March, the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce held a forum for Pennsylvania’s Governor hopefuls. All six candidates attended.

One question raised was on the subject of allowing local municipalities to enact their own firearm ordinances.

A bit of background for perspective, Pennsylvania has a strict preemption clause in its Constitution. Because of this, municipalities are not allowed to legislate issues reserved for the state.

As it relates to firearms, this is good policy since it would create a patchwork of different firearm regs across the state. Unintentionally run afoul of one and you could end up in some serious trouble.

Additionally, Pennsylvania’s Constitution (you know, the document these guys all hope to swear to follow and defend) is pretty clear on the issue. Article 1 contains the Declaration of Rights. Section 21 states “The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.” This language has been protected since the late 1700’s.

So, when asked about whether they believed local municipalities should be able to create their own firearm legislation, Democrat Jack Wagner and Republicans Tom Corbett and Sam Rohrer said no. The remaining Democrats in the race all stated that they did believe municipalities should be able to legislate their own gun laws.

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