PA House Moves Some Gun Law Changes; Stops Short Of Broad Restrictions


With members of the gun control group Moms Demand Action looking on, the House Judiciary Committee debated a number of gun bills. (Photo by Katie Meyer/WITF)

HARRISBURG, PA (WSKG) — A state House committee has begun working through a long list of gun control measures that have accumulated in the chamber in recent months.

They’ve so far moved a few bills that restrict gun ownership in limited situations. However, they ended debate before taking on several broader measures–including a bump stock ban and background check expansion.

One of the bills passed would let police or family members request that a court temporarily seize guns from a person in crisis.

Another closes a loophole that let people convicted of conspiracy to commit a violent felony own guns.

The highest-profile bill that progressed to the House floor is a measure that would make it harder for domestic abusers to possess weapons.

The Senate already passed it, and Governor Tom Wolf supports it.

Allegheny County Democrat Dan Miller said there is no reason the House shouldn’t follow suit.

“I think that these things have to move forward,” he told his colleagues. “During this session, we’ve had key things brought to us. We have to act. We have to have votes.”

The Republican-dominated committee also moved a measure that would somewhat relax gun laws–letting people involuntarily committed to a mental health facility petition a court to have their gun rights reinstated.

Luzerne County Republican Tarah Toohil voted against it.

“I’m just concerned about family members not having notice about this, and I do believe that potentially, unfortunately, that this could result in the death of a family member,” she said.

The bump stock ban and background check expansion are still on the committee’s docket. They’re expected to see debate on Wednesday.