By: José Niño
Could the Keystone State be the next state to adopt Constitutional Carry?
On Friday, April 16, 2021, State Senator Cris Dush introduced Constitutional Carry SB 565 in the Pennsylvania Senate. That very day, the bill was sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where it is still waiting for a vote.So far, 11 Senators have co-sponsored the bill.
Constitutional Carry is a policy that makes it so law-abiding citizens do not have to ask the government permission to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
Outside of the governor’s office, Republicans have solid control of the state government.
In a recent email directed to his supporters, Dush said only three of the nine Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee have joined him in sponsoring Constitutional Carry.
Most importantly, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Lisa Baker, has not sponsored this bill. Without Baker’s support, SB 565 will effectively wither away in Committee.
Like all other Constitutional Carry bills, SB 565 features an optional license for individuals who want to carry in other states that have reciprocity agreements with Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvanians have no reason to fear the prospect of Constitutional Carry. Constitutional Carry states like Vermont and New Hampshire are among the safest places in the country.
If Constitutional Carry passes in Pennsylvania, it will become the 21st state to have the law on its books.
Even if SB 565 were to be passed in both chambers of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, Democrat Governor Tom Wolf will likely veto this bill. According to Pennsylvania’s constitution, a two-thirds vote of all members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly is needed to override the veto.
Indeed, such an override is not likely to occur, since Republican majorities are not that strong in the General Assembly. Of the 50 members in the Senate, 28 are Republicans. Similarly, of the 203 members in the House, 113 are Republicans.
Nevertheless, getting Republicans to rally around Constitutional Carry is a great way to change the political conversation in Pennsylvania. Constitutional Carry has massive national momentum, which can be leveraged if Wolf decides to veto this bill. A veto against this bill can be used as a good campaign litmus test in the 2022 election cycle when Wolff’s Democrat successor and the Republican candidate square off.
Before any of this can occur, Republicans will need to vote Constitutional Carry out of both chambers of the General Assembly.
José Niño is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Sign up for his mailing list here. Contact him via Facebook, Twitter, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get his e-book, The 10 Myths of Gun Control, here.