Many gun owners had their eyes on Harrisburg today when the House Judiciary Committee leadership forced three anti-gun bills up for a vote if they were going to be asked to vote on important self-defense reform through Castle Doctrine.
Among the worst of the three gun bills, HB 1044 would have ended preemption in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia would have had the authority to abuse lawful gun owners even more than they try to do now. Fortunately, thanks to the hard work of gun owners who called, emailed, and tweeted lawmakers, it failed 20-6.
More good news for gun owners comes in the defeat of HB 1045 that would arbitrarily ban some semi-automatic rifles around Pennsylvania. We already saw the failure of the Clinton Gun Ban in the 1990s, and this bill would have been even more useless – beyond outlawing guns in many lawful collections across the Keystone State. The gun ban failed 20-6.
In a sneaky move to create new government staff positions that would promote gun control full-time, HB 1043 was framed as a new “firearms czar,” a bureaucrat who would look for ways to curb gun sales in Pennsylvania on the taxpayer’s dime. Fortunately, this sneaky trick failed by a vote of 17-9.
In a bit of really bright news for gun owners, Castle Doctrine moved in an overwhelming vote. The 22-4 vote won over even poorly rated lawmakers from the Philadelphia area. The only votes against it were from Representatives Paul Drucker, Kathy Manderino, Greg Vitali, and Ronald Waters.
Interestingly, Rep. Drucker (Chester & Montgomery Counties) proudly boasts of his endorsement & support by gun ban groups. It seems like a bold move for a lawmaker who only won his seat in 2008. As a Democrat, he rode the wave of support, but with only 707 votes. He will face Republican Warren Kampf, a Tredyffrin Township Supervisor. While not all candidates in the district have historically been pro-gun, sending Drucker home in November is feasible. It would, at the very least, make sure he is no longer promoting the anti-gun agenda for CeaseFirePA.
In the other races, Rep. Kathy Manderino is retiring at the end of her term. Rep. Greg Vitali has seen significant victories in recent years, enough to warrant consideration for a Congressional run last year. Rep. Ronald Waters is a lawmaker who rarely event draws a challenger. So while some entrenched anti-gun votes aren’t so easy to remove this November, at least a few are up for serious challenge. Let’s make them remember this vote. If they don’t support our rights to self-defense, then we should send them home.