As a gun owner, hunter, and NRA member, I appreciate the efforts of the Pennsylvania General Assembly in protecting our right to bear arms.
One bill sponsored by Rep. Steven Cappelli, R-Lycoming, would strengthen the so-called ‘castle doctrine’ that gives individuals protection against civil liability for the lawful use of force in self-defense.
The other bill, by Rep. Darryl Metcalfe, R-Butler, would require that the Pennsylvania State Police halt a decade-old practice of maintaining a database of records involving purchasers of hand guns.
However, why don’t our elected representatives emphasize our rights under Pennsylvania’s Constitution? As far back as 1776, Pennsylvania’s Constitution has provided a right to bear arms. Article 1, Section 21 of our Constitution states: “The right of the citizens to bear arms in defence [sic] of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.” Pennsylvania’s Constitution predates the Constitution of the United States, especially the Second Amendment, which was ratified on December 15, 1791. If our Commonwealth legislators are going to enact laws to protect our right to bear arms, then let’s look first to what our own Constitution provides.