HARRISBURG – “During his two terms as governor, Tom Wolf has shown a penchant for ignoring the constitutional rights of Pennsylvania citizens, and he again did that today with his veto of legislation that would have ensured those legally allowed to own a gun could carry it openly or concealed, without needing a permit,” said the bill’s prime sponsor Sen. Cris Dush (R-25).
“Firearms ownership is a Constitutional right that should not be subject to infringement or questioning,” said Sen. Dush. “Gov. Wolf should have heeded the provisions of the constitutions of both the United States and Pennsylvania and signed Senate Bill 565.”
The bill would have allowed for law-abiding citizens to carry guns in a concealed manner without a license. Use of firearms, whether criminal or for self-defense, would still have been controlled by other Pennsylvania statutes that remain unchanged.
“This bill would not have gotten rid of background checks or changed any of the statutes surrounding the lawful purchase of firearms,” Sen. Dush said. “The bill only sought to change the statute surrounding the carrying of firearms by law-abiding citizens.”
Though Senate Bill 565 seeks to remove the requirement of a concealed carry permit for Pennsylvanians, the measure still allows for the issuance of a concealed carry permit.
“When drafting this legislation, we also took care to allow for the issuance of a concealed carry permit for those of us who wish to be able to carry concealed within states that have reciprocity agreements with Pennsylvania under the current system,” said Sen. Dush. “We wanted to ensure this legislation did not negate your ability to carry in those states if Pennsylvania residents wanted to travel to them.”
As of early September, there are 21 states that allow permit-less carry of firearms: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota (only available for state residents regarding concealed carry), Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.
FBI data clearly show that in jurisdictions where law-abiding people have the right to both keep and bear arms, those communities are safer.
To illustrate that, in October, a bystander carrying a legal, concealed handgun stopped a shooting situation in Lancaster’s Park City Mall.
Following the incident, Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams said the bystander’s actions prevented many more people working or shopping in the mall that day from being hurt or killed.
“No criminal has ever said, ‘I want to go commit assault and murder – but I have to wait for my license to carry to come in,’” said Sen. Dush. “But every day, honest Pennsylvanians who want to carry a gun simply to come home safe at night are forced to wait for their permit so they can carry legally.
“Gov. Wolf’s veto is saying to The People of Pennsylvania ‘In spite of the Bill of Rights you don’t have the right’ and has ensured the disparity in public safety will be enforced by his administration and will continue for Pennsylvanians.”
CONTACT: Zack Ankeny