A bill proposed in the Pennsylvania State House would make the owners of most kinds of guns register them with State Police.
The Firearm Registration Act, proposed by three Philadelphia-area Democrats, has been met with mixed reaction since last Friday.
In McKean and Potter Counties, Representative Martin Causer says it’s widely opposed and that his constituents don’t want to be like New York, where the Safe Act requires pistol permit holders to recertify.
Causer is a Republican in a mostly Republican part of the state.
“It’s very clear that it’s unconstitutional, it infringes on the rights of law abiding citizens, and people are very opposed to it,” Causer said by phone Friday afternoon.
Many New Yorkers thought the Safe Act was unconstitutional too, but the New York State Supreme Court upheld Governor Andrew Cuomo’s bill in 2014 that ultimately requires New York pistol permit holders to register their guns.
Causer said people are already calling his office, expressing concern over a proposed firearms registry.
House Bill 768 would require annual registration compared to New York’s recertification every five years.
“I hear from a lot of constituents here in Pennsylvania who actually bring up New York often and say ‘Please don’t let us turn into New York. We do not want a gun registry, we do not additional gun control,’ and actually use New York as an example of what we don’t want here in Pennsylvania,” Causer said.
The gun control debate often divides Democrats and Republicans. The Governor in in Pennsylvania is a Democrat, but Republicans control the state house and senate, yet Causer feels there would be bipartisan opposition if the proposal ever came to a vote.
“We have a very strong coalition in both chambers of the legislature that oppose legislation like this, and as I said, I think would be very soundly defeated,” he said.
In the proposal, anyone convicted of a violent crime or a dangerous drug offense in the past five years would not be able to register his or her firearm. Gun owners would also have to submit to finger printing, a background check, and a $10 fee. To read the whole proposal and find out what guns are excluded from it, click here.
The proposal is in its very early stages and was referred to Pennsylvania’s judiciary committee.