Bills Protecting Second Amendment Rights Earn Committee Approval, Dowling Says
HARRISBURG – Rep. Matthew Dowling (R-Fayette/Somerset), chairman of the House Second Amendment Caucus, today applauded approval by the House Judiciary Committee of two important bills protecting Pennsylvanians’ constitutional rights.

“The Constitution clearly states, ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,’” said Dowling, who also serves on the House Judiciary Committee. “But the actions of this administration, and even more so the new administration in Washington, D.C., demonstrate that we must be proactive in our efforts to protect this valuable right.”

Watch Dowling’s comments in the Judiciary Committee meeting.

Dowling is the prime sponsor of House Bill 979, which 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 who successfully challenges such an ordinance.

“Where no uniform state laws are in place, the result can be chaotic as restrictions change from one local jurisdiction to another,” Dowling said. “Where so many different ordinances are allowed to exist, citizens with no criminal intent are placed in danger of breaking restrictions they are unaware of just by going from one county to the next or one town to the next.”

In addition to Dowling’s bill, the committee also approved “constitutional carry.” House Bill 659, sponsored by Rep. Aaron Bernstine (R-Beaver/Butler/Lawrence), would put an end to the requirement for a law-abiding citizen to obtain a permit to carry a concealed firearm within the Commonwealth. An optional permit would be made available to those who wish to obtain it for purposes of carrying outside the state.

“The bill simply recognizes the right to keep and bear arms is a constitutional right that should not require further permission of the government,” Dowling said. “Citizens already go through an extensive background check to purchase a gun; the process of obtaining the permit is duplicative and unnecessary.”

Currently, 21 states provide constitutional carry, the nearest being West Virginia. Dowling recently interviewed Bernstine about this bill in his “On Target” video series for the House Second Amendment Caucus. The videos are available for viewing here:

Both bills will head to the full House for consideration.

Representative Matthew Dowling
51st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Patricia Hippler
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