A bill that would allow all Pennsylvania adults who can legally own guns to carry them without a permit is now heading to the Governor’s desk.
Senate Bill 565 was passed in the Pennsylvania House Tuesday night by a vote of 107-92 after several hours of emotional debate. In addition to removing the state’s permit requirement for concealed carry, the bill would also allow for legal gun owners to carry openly in the city of Philadelphia.
“Firearms ownership is a Constitutional right that should not be subject to infringement or questioning, as is provided for in the constitutions of both the United States and Pennsylvania, as well as Commonwealth statute,” State Senator Cris Dush (R.), the primary sponsor of the bill, said in a press release.
The bill would make Pennsylvania the 22nd state to allow permitless carry for its residents. It would represent continued momentum for gun-rights advocates who have successfully instituted the policy in five other states this year alone. Texas became the largest state to adopt permitless carry back on May 28th.
However, despite passing both chambers of the Republican-controlled state legislature, the bill faces strong opposition from Pennsylvania’s Democratic Governor.
“This is a move to lower the bar for unvetted, permitless people to carry hidden weapons while they walk our streets and mingle in our communities and to dismantle the commonwealth’s system for responsible gun ownership,” Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (D.) said in reference to the bill. “We need to stop this nonsense – we should question why we would want anyone who hasn’t undergone a background check to carry a concealed weapon.”
Supporters of the bill, however, note that the law would not alter the state’s background check requirements for gun purchases.
“It’s important to note, this bill does not get rid of background checks or change any of the statutes surrounding the lawful purchase of firearms,” Dush said. “The bill only changes the statute surrounding the carrying of firearms by law abiding citizens.”
Dush said that the bill was necessary because the state’s current carry law only serves as an impediment to lawful gun owners.
“No criminal has ever said, ‘I want to go commit assault and murder – but I have to wait for my license to carry to come in,’” he said. “But every day, honest Pennsylvanians who want to carry a gun simply to come home safe at night are forced to wait for their permit so they can carry legally.”
Governor Wolf is expected to veto the bill. Without veto-proof majorities in either chamber, the bill’s supporters will likely have to settle for a symbolic victory.