Pennsylvania politicians have earned the ire of gun rights advocates around the country after the state’s lawmakers voted to require individuals under protective orders to surrender their guns within 24 hours.
The bill, known as HB 2060, overwhelmingly passed the state’s house by a 131-62 vote. The bill’s sponsors included urban Democrats as well as some Republicans. It is slated to replace Pennsylvania’s current law, which requires individuals who have been deemed by courts to be a threat to themselves or others to surrender their firearms to a third party within 60 days.
Critics have slammed the legislation, calling it an open attack on the Second Amendment. They note Protection From Abuse orders are often filed for nefarious purposes, and that the state issues at least 40,000 such orders each year. These orders, critics point out, can last for years at a time while cases are being settled.
Despite such concerns, Pennsylvania lawmakers assure the bill is not designed to restrict Second Amendment rights, but rather to make it more difficult for criminals to get their hands on deadly weapons.
“Despite claims to the contrary, this legislation does not take firearms away from responsible gun owners,” Pennsylvania State Rep. Marguerite Quinn said. “The legislation will, when enacted, take firearms out of the hands of those who have received due process, and are deemed by the court to be violent and a threat.”
Considering how PFAs are dished out so liberally, it’s hard not to see where critics are coming from. Theoretically, individuals with personal grudges could simply lobby judges to issue such orders with little evidence. This effectively allows private citizens to restrict one another’s constitutional freedoms.
The bill, which echoes similar legislation passed by Pennsylvania’s Senate, has enjoyed support from various anti-gun groups such as Everytown and Moms Demand Action. Activist Shannon Watts tweeted the following in reaction to the vote:
“So proud of our Pennsylvania @MomsDemand volunteers who are back at their statehouse for day THREE of advocating for #HB2060! It’s time to #ProtectPAFamilies. #PaPolitics”
~ Ready to Fire News