May. 26, 2021
HARRISBURG – Rep. Rob Kauffman (R-Franklin) today led the House Judiciary Committee in voting to approve legislation that would enhance Pennsylvania’s Second Amendment laws.
House Bill 659
would create a two-tiered system for the concealed carrying of firearms for lawful purposes in Pennsylvania.
The first level would no longer require law-abiding citizens to obtain a permit to carry a firearm concealed in Pennsylvania. This principle acknowledges that Pennsylvanians have a fundamental constitutional right to keep and bear arms (Article 1, Section 21 of the Pennsylvania Constitution) and that no License to Carry a Firearm (LTCF) is currently required for law-abiding citizens to “openly” carry a firearm throughout Pennsylvania.
“When a Pennsylvanian purchases a firearm, he or she already submits to an extensive background check process,” said Kauffman. “Applying for an LTCF is a duplicative exercise in many respects and, therefore, unnecessary.
“To be clear, this law would have nothing to do with the purchase of firearms. It would quite simply eliminate the need to obtain a license to conceal a firearm a person is already legally able to carry.”
The second level would provide citizens the ability to obtain an optional LTCF permit that is valid throughout Pennsylvania and would provide for carrying firearms in other states. Currently, 32 states either recognize Pennsylvania LTCFs or a reciprocity agreement is in effect.
Twenty-one other states currently have a Constitutional Carry law in place.
House Bill 979
was also passed out of the committee. It aims to improve enforcement of existing state law that prohibits municipalities from imposing their own regulations on firearms and ammunition. Specifically, this legislation would aim to deter illegal ordinances by holding offending jurisdictions financially responsible for attorney fees and costs, as well as any lost income, for a person or organization that successfully challenges such an ordinance.
The bill also would require fair notice to municipalities of a pending legal challenges.
“This legislation would help ensure we have consistent laws across the state,” said Kauffman. “No longer would we have a patchwork system of firearm laws that are confusing for citizens traveling through an area they are unfamiliar with.
“Each and every day our Second Amendment rights are being chipped away,” said Kauffman. “These legislative measures will help strengthen those rights here in the Commonwealth – the birthplace of the U.S. Constitution.”
The committee also approved legislation (House Bill 1095
) authored by Kauffman that would categorize the murder of an unborn child the same as any other murder for sentencing purposes. Kauffman wrote the legislation to address a Pennsylvania Superior Court decision that reasoned in Commonwealth v. Hayes
that the murder of an unborn child did not technically constitute “murder.”
“A baby is a human being and when that child is killed it is murder, no matter whether that child is being carried in a mother’s womb or in her arms,” said Kauffman. “Life matters and it should be prioritized, not marginalized, which is what my legislation seeks to do.”
Other legislation passed out of the House Judiciary Committee was House Bill 488
, which would expand the offense of endangering the welfare of a child to include if a person, with reckless disregard for the risk of harm to the child or for the health, safety or welfare of the child, fails to report to law enforcement the disappearance of a child.
Kauffman said each of the bills will be reported to the full House for its consideration.
Representative Rob Kauffman
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tricia Lehman