Washington, D.C., September 23, 2020 – Today, the Brady Campaign calls on the Pennsylvania State Senate to reject HB 1747 and HB 2440, bills that would permit the open carry of firearms during a state of emergency while neutering the duly elected state government from regulating commerce in its borders to protect public health and safety.
Brady Campaign President Kris Brown shared:
“These bills disregard the health and safety needs of Pennsylvanians and advance an extremist view of gun rights that has no basis in the Second Amendment or law. In emergency situations such as the on-going coronavirus pandemic, the Governor and local officials are well within their constitutional rights to temporarily regulate private businesses and commerce—including the gun industry and gun dealers. During the pandemic, we have seen the Governor and these officials effectively balance the needs of private industry with public health and safety. Going forward, the passing of HB 1747 and HB 2440 would erase this oversight and make Pennsylvanians less safe.
The protection of Pennsylvanians’ right to live does not diminish their liberty or right to bear arms. In fact, it ensures more Pennsylvanians are healthy and able to live with these rights. Brady urges the Pennsylvania Senate to reject HB 1747 and HB 2440.”
Brady Pennsylvania State Executive Committee member Denise Marks shared:
"These bills are not in the common-sense tradition that Pennsylvania holds dear. While our Commonwealth has a rich gun-owning heritage and tradition, we have similarly long endeavored to reduce gun violence. These policies do not make anyone safer and in fact reduce the ability of our elected officials to address pressing public safety needs. The Senate should continue to act in the best interests of Pennsylvanians, not the gun lobby, and reject these bills.”
Rob Conroy, organizing director for CeaseFirePA, Pennsylvania’s leading statewide gun violence group, was equally frustrated by the intent and wording of these bills.
“We at CeaseFirePA have fought year after year to protect Pennsylvanians, while our Pennsylvania lawmakers have fought--and continue to fight--to protect the gun lobby and its agenda. This time around, legislators have chosen to exploit the confusion and suffering caused by both a pandemic and nearly unprecedented societal unrest to advance two incredibly unsettling bills. HB 1747 and HB 2440 place every Pennsylvanian in danger by increasing vulnerable individuals’ access to firearms and all but declaring states of emergency to be unmitigated free-for-alls for gun-toting would-be insurrectionists and the businesses that support/supply them. Our state Senate needs to curtail, not expand, access to firearms from those that would do harm with them under times of extreme duress; to do that, it needs to vote down HB 1747 and HB 2440.”
About These Bills:
HB 1747 would block the Governor’s ability to restrict the sales of firearms and would eliminate restrictions on the open carry of firearms during a state of emergency. HB 2440 would require the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to designate the entire firearm industry, such as gun stores, as “life-sustaining,” requiring that they “never be shuttered or limited in their ability to produce, provide, sell or otherwise offer” sales and services related to firearms. This removes essential flexibility from the Commonwealth’s elected officials in responding to emergency situations.
Brady supports the Governor’s authority to take action to restrict the sale and open carry of firearms during a national emergency like the coronavirus pandemic. Brady also supports state and local governments’ rights to designate gun stores as “essential” or “non-essential” based upon salient public health and safety considerations. These bills undermine those common-sense powers only to further the gun industry’s interests, profits, and unsupported interpretation of the Second Amendment. The Pennsylvania State Senate should reject these bills.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.