Here’s a latest update on pending Pennsylvania House Bill 1523 – although on the state House agenda since last Wednesday, the bill has yet to get to the House floor. Today is the last day the House of Representatives are in session before recessing until mid-March. With at least 13 proposed amendments to the bill, since the proposed legislation left the Judiciary Committee hearing, my guess is there probably will not be a decision today.
Thirty cities and towns across Pennsylvania have taken action to crack down on illegal gun trafficking but the pending bill threatens to punish them for taking local action on illegal gun traffickers and straw purchasers. As originally written, the bill would allow any gun owner to challenge these local ordinances and to collect legal fees and damages from the city that passed such an ordinance. As if that was not sufficient, HB1523 got a boost when it left the state Judiciary Committee … the amended HB1523 legislation grants legal standing to the NRA, allowing the pro-gun organization to sue the local municipalities, just like individual gun owners.
This is the NRA we are talking about – the most powerful lobbying organization in the country! If you look at the supporters of HB1523, you will see support from both sides of the political aisle; this is not a Republican versus Democratic issue. No, it seems to have less to do with party politics and more to do with legislators feeling the need to stay on the ‘right side’ of the National Rifle Association.
I wonder how many of these Harrisburg legislators have received money from the NRA? Or, are the legislators involved in current campaigns and feel the need to stay on NRA’s approved list of candidates or elected officials? Some of the elected officials in Harrisburg apparently do some kind of calculus and figure that there is more to be gained by staying on the ‘right side’ of the NRA than any possible downside to the safety of the local municipalities.
Why should the goals and objectives of the NRA guide the decisions of any local elected official? Why? What’s the saying, ‘follow the money’?
Apparently, I am not alone in my opinion. In today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, columnist Monica Yant Kinney writes about HB1523,
“Pennsylvania gun laws are a sick joke. Any state that happily sells buyers unlimited weapons on demand is a state where politicians fear the wrath of the NRA more than the loss of their own lives. … Legislators want to have it both ways: They refuse to protect citizens, but they’ll be damned if they allow cities to do it for them.”