May. 23, 2023
HARRISBURG – State Rep. Brian Smith (R-Jefferson/Indiana) opposed a pair of gun control measures passed primarily by Democrats. He issued this statement following the votes:
“Not only do these bills criminalize legal gun ownership, but they also go against our Pennsylvania State Constitution. Article I, section 21 states: ‘The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.’ These measures do more than just question our constitutional right.
“I’m proud to say the majority of my colleagues have spoken out against the more egregious of these unconstitutional measures. However, two bad bills still passed the House.
“Instead of making criminals out of legal gun owners, we should be focused on having police and prosecutors enforce the laws already on the books. We can also do more to tackle the mental health crisis across the Commonwealth. Let’s work on early intervention and de-stigmatizing mental health issues and treatments. We do not need to deprive people of their constitutional rights to fight the state’s crime problem.”
The following bills were approved Monday and now head to the Senate for consideration:
• House Bill 714
would expand the background checks for handguns to all firearms, including long guns, through all sales whether retail, gun show or private.
• House Bill 1018
would establish a court order that could ban someone from gun ownership based on someone else’s suspicion of a mental health problem.
The House narrowly rejected House Bill 338
, which would put penalties on legal gun owners who fail to report their firearms are lost or stolen within 72 hours. This was voted down 100-101 but can be brought back for another vote due to a reconsideration motion.
House Bill 731
has yet to be brought for a final vote. The measure would make it illegal to sell a firearm without a locking or storage device. It would require the gun to be secured with a locking device or in a locked container unless it is within the owner’s reach.
Representative Brian Smith
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jake Gillespie