As I discussed in Pennsylvania Firearm Rights in the Crosshairs – The Rights That Stand to be Infringed, the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee has been considering a number of extremely anti-Second Amendment bills, including a bill providing for extreme risk protection orders. Although Attorney Adam Kraut and I testified before the House Judiciary Committee on the unconstitutionality of these bills, as well as, the other tangential concerns, the House Judiciary Committee is poised this week – on Tuesday, June 19th at 9 AM in the Majority Caucus Room – to vote on these unconstitutional bills that seek to deprive individuals of their rights – rights made inviolate by the Pennsylvania Constitution, pursuant to Article 1, Section 25. More disconcerting, it appears that a number of the members of the Committee plan to vote in favor of these draconian and unconstitutional bills, while refusing to bring up pro-Second Amendment bills that are pending in the Committee, such as SB 5, which has been pending since April 26, 2017! Let me be explicitly clear, these bills are likely to pass, absent your immediate action.
The bills to be considered are: “HB 273 (Donatucci), HB 1400 (Santora), HB 1872 (Dean/D Costa), HB 2060 (M Quinn), HB 2227 (Stephens), HB 2266 (Cruz), HB 2267 (Cruz), HB 2275 (Grove/Briggs), and HB 2463 (Nelson), as well as any other business that may come before the committee.” While HB 2463 is a pro-Second Amendment bill that would remove any prohibition relating to involuntary commitments under Section 302 of the Mental Health and Procedures Act and provide a relief mechanism for those who become prohibited under state or federal law as a result of an involuntary commitment, there are anti-Second Amendment amendments being proposed to it.
A quick synopsis provided by the Committee (i.e. biased in favor of enacting these proposals) of each bill and proposed amendments reveals:
HB 273 (Donatucci) creates a voluntary self-exclusion program by which an individual can agree to be prohibited from purchasing or receiving a firearm for a period of one year, three years, or lifetime. There is one amendment, A07354, which removes the lifetime self-exclusion option, makes removal from the list automatic upon expiration of the self-exclusion period, and removes a requirement that the PA State Police provide for safekeeping of surrendered firearms.
HB 1400 (Santora) makes two changes relating to background checks for the sale or transfer of firearms. First, the bill requires so-called “universal background checks” by requiring that private sales of long guns be subject to the same background check requirements that currently apply to sales conducted by a licensed dealer of firearms or a private sale of handguns. Second, the bill permits a person who possesses a valid license to carry a firearm to utilize a single successful background check to transact multiple firearm sales at the same gun show. There are no amendments.
HB 1872 (Dean/D Costa) adds bump stocks and similar devices to the list of offensive weapons prohibited under state law. The bill also provides that the offense will not apply to possession of such a device which was obtained prior to the bill’s effective date and it requires the Attorney General to publish notice in the PA Bulletin describing in detail the change in the law within 10 days of enactment of the bill. There are no amendments.
HB 2060 (M Quinn) amends the Uniform Firearms Act and the Protection From Abuse Act to amend the process and requirements for relinquishment of firearms following a PFA order or conviction of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. This is the House companion bill to the much-discussed “Senate Bill 501.” There will be one amendment, which incorporates the wording of SB 501 while correcting drafting errors in that bill and harmonizing certain features of SB 501 with the “extreme risk protection order” process discussed in connection with HB 2227 below.
HB 2227 (Stephens) provides for a new judicial process to temporarily suspend a person’s right to possess or purchase a firearm. An extreme risk protection order (ERPO) will be a court order prohibiting a person from possessing or obtaining a firearm based upon a finding that the person presents a risk of suicide or of causing death or serious bodily injury to another person. The process is very similar to the current PFA process, but allows both law enforcement and household members to seek such orders. An order can last between three months and one year in duration and will automatically expire unless renewed by the court, which renewal requires notice and another hearing. There will be one amendment, which adds or clarifies numerous procedural protections to the respondent in such a proceeding. We remain in discussions with interested stakeholders to achieve a consensus.
HB 2266 (Cruz) and HB 2267 (Cruz) together shorten the period in which courts and mental health agencies must send mental health data to the PA State Police from 7 days to 72 hours of adjudicating an individual to be incompetent or involuntarily committing an individual to a mental institution for inpatient treatment. There are no amendments.
HB 2275 (Grove/Briggs) amends the Crimes Code to rectify a 2011 ruling by the PA Supreme Court which held that the prior conviction offenses that prohibit a person from possessing, transferring, or using a firearm do not include an attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit those same crimes. There is one amendment, A07610, which is technical.
HB 2463 (Nelson) makes three changes related to the firearm rights of those subjected to involuntary mental health treatment. First, the bill removes the prohibition against firearm possession for those subjected to emergency involuntary mental health treatment. Second, the bill provides a procedure for any person ineligible to possess a firearm due to a mental health issue to have his right to obtain a firearm reinstated. Third, the bill requires the PA State Police to send any record relevant to a determination of whether a person is disqualified from possessing a firearm due to an adjudication of incompetency or an involuntary commitment within 72 hours to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). There are two amendments. The first, A07403, clarifies that persons presently prohibited from possessing a firearm due to a previous involuntary mental health commitment will have to seek a restoration of firearm rights through the new petition process. The second, A07614, provides that an emergency involuntary mental health commitment will result in a six-month firearm prohibitor that automatically expires at the end of that period.
As such, it is imperative that you contact each member of the House Judiciary Committee and tell them to vote AGAINST HB 273, HB 1400, HB 1872, HB 2060, HB 2227, HB 2266 , HB 2267, HB 2275, and FOR HB 2463, but AGAINST the proposed amendments (A07403 and A07614). If you are a constituent of one of these members, please make sure to let your Representative know that their vote in favor of any of these bills, except for HB 2463, will result in you voting for someone else in November.
As emails can be easily deleted without the recipient reviewing them, I am imploring you to FAX your respectful correspondences to your Representative and House Judiciary Members, and then follow up via phone call to ensure that they all received your correspondence. If you wish to additionally send a copy via email, their respective email addresses are listed below.
The House Judiciary Members are:
- Chairman Ron Marsico – (717) 783-2014, Fax: (717) 705-2010 RMarsico@pahousegop.com;
- Democratic Chair Joseph Petrarca – (717) 787-5142, Fax: (717) 705-2014 JPetrarc@pahouse.net;
- Tarah Toohil – (570) 453-1344, Fax: (570) 459-3946 TToohil@pahousegop.com;
- Stephen Bloom – (717) 772-2280, Fax: (717) 705-2012 SBloom@pahousegop.com;
- Becky Corbin – (717) 783-2520, Fax: (717) 782-2927 BCorbin@pahousegop.com;
- Sheryl Delozier – (717) 783-5282, Fax: (717) 772-9994 SDelozie@pahousegop.com;
- Harold English – (717) 260-6407, Fax: (717) 783-5740 HEnglish@pahousegop.com;
- Garth Everett – (717) 787-5270, Fax: (717) 772-9958 GEverett@pahousegop.com;
- Barry Jozwiak – (717) 772-9940, Fax: (717) 782-2925 BJozwiak@pahousegop.com;
- Kate Klunk – (717) 787-4790, Fax: (717) 782-2952 KKlunk@pahousegop.com;
- Jerry Knowles – (717) 787-9029, Fax: (717) 782-2908 JKnowles@pahousegop.com;
- Tedd Nesbit – (717) 783-6438, Fax: (717) 782-2943 TNesbit@pahousegop.com;
- Rick Saccone – (717) 260-6122, Fax: (717) 787-9174 RSaccone@pahousegop.com;
- Paul Schemel – (717) 263-1053, Fax: (717) 263-1059 PSchemel@pahousegop.com;
- Todd Stephens – (717) 260-6163, Fax: (717) 782-2898 TStephen@pahousegop.com;
- Jesse Topper – (717) 787-7076, Fax: (717) 782-2933 JTopper@pahousegop.com;
- Martina White – (717) 787-6740, Fax: (717) 782-2929 MWhite@pahousegop.com;
- Bryan Barbin – (814) 487-4041, Fax: (814) 487-4043 BBarbin@pahouse.net;
- Ryan Bizzarro – (717) 772-2297, Fax: (717) 780-4767 RBizzarro@pahouse.net;
- Tim Briggs – (717) 705-7011, Fax: (717) 772-9860 TBriggs@pahouse.net;
- Dom Costa – (717) 783-9114, Fax: (717) 780-4761 DCosta@pahouse.net;
- Tina Davis – (717) 783-4903, Fax: (717) 783-0682 TDavis@pahouse.net;
- Jason Dawkins – (717) 787-1354, Fax: (717) 780-4789 JDawkins@pahouse.net;
- Madeleine Dean – (717) 783-7619, Fax: (717) 780-4754 MDean@pahouse.net;
- Joanna McClinton – (717) 772-9850, Fax: (717) 783-1516 JMcClinton@pahouse.net;
- Dan Miller – (717) 783-1850, Fax: (717) 780-4756 DMiller@pahouse.net;
- Gerald Mullery – 570) 636-3500, Fax: (570) 636-3502 GMullery@pahouse.net.
If you or someone you know has had their right to Keep and Bear Arms infringed, contact Firearms Industry Consulting Group today to discuss YOUR rights and legal options.
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