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‘Constitutional Carry’ Could Affect Pennsylvania Gun Crime Laws

Pennsylvania Rep. Rick Saccone (R-Elizabeth Township, Allegheny County), who has been in the news for his efforts to eliminate license suspensions as a punishment for non-driving offenses, is now pushing for the commonwealth to become a “constitutional carry” state for firearms.

In a constitutional carry state, lawful gun owners may carry a handgun and certain other approved firearms — either openly or concealed — without the need for a permit.

Such a hot-button issue, not surprisingly, has created a stir in Pennsylvania. The legislation is currently in its early phases in the House Judiciary Committee, but Rep. Saccone believes it could gain enough votes to secure approval.

In a memo to his colleagues in late 2016, Saccone wrote: “If a citizen passes a criminal background check to purchase a new firearm, it is patently unjust and constitutionally questionable to add layers of bureaucratic regulations on those who are least likely to commit a crime just because the citizen prefers to carry his weapons concealed.”

The legislation would also allow gun owners to purchase permits that are transferable to other states. Currently, more than half of states nationwide recognize Pennsylvania’s firearm licenses.

Criticism from gun safety advocates

The passage of the bill is far from a sure thing. Activists and other lawmakers have criticized it as being “dangerous,” arguing that permits help protect public safety. In addition, critics of the bill say constitutional carry would not allow law enforcement to track a person working on amassing a personal arsenal of firearms for nefarious purposes.

If this law gets passed, it could make it easier for Pennsylvania residents to carry firearms with them. To learn more about your options if you’ve been charged with a weapons crime, speak with experienced Reading criminal defense attorney David R. Eshelman.


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