(The Center Square) – Republican lawmakers will host a gun rights rally Monday on the steps of the Pennsylvania Capitol building in Harrisburg.
Organized by Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry Township, the event will feature U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., and several activists speaking in support of three pending bills that would allow permitless concealed carry and preempt both federal and local officials from imposing new regulations that contradict state gun laws.
Metcalfe sponsored one of the latter proposals, House Bill 357, which he’s dubbed the Right to Bear Arms Protection Act. More than 60 legislators have co-sponsored, so far.
“It is truly my honor to share the podium with so many tested frontline warriors in the fight to cancel the extreme firearm confiscation agenda now being rabidly pursued by Joe Biden and his fanatical leftist comrades,” Metcalfe said. “Whether by White House executive orders, congressional fiat or judicial activism, passage of House Bill 357 will send the undeniable message that federal gun-grabbing constitutes a criminal offense in Pennsylvania.”
Featured speakers include Perry, Joshua Prince, chief counsel of the Firearms Industry Consulting Group and Kim Stolfer, president of Firearms Owners Against Crime.
House Judiciary Chairman Rob Kauffman, R-Chambersburg; House Second Amendment Caucus Chairman Matt Dowling, R-Uniontown; Rep. Stephanie Borowicz, R-Lock Haven, and Sen. Cris Dush, R-Wellsboro will also attend.
“It is precisely our sacred and non-negotiable right to keep and bear arms which provides the foundation and reinforcement of all the rights recognized and proclaimed in our state and federal constitutions,” Metcalfe said. “My fellow patriots, don’t miss out on this monumental opportunity to unite against tyranny and stop the steal of our God-given freedoms and liberties.”
Gov. Tom Wolf maintains further gun restrictions are needed in the state and described firearm-related violence as a “scourge across all of Pennsylvania and the nation” during a March news conference with CeaseFirePA.
“2020 gun violence rates were up all across the board,” he said. “Last year we saw more firearm-related murders, more shootings, more mass shootings.”
The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence reported 1,541 firearm deaths in the state in 2019. Suicides account for two-thirds of the total.
The governor said he supports extreme risk protection orders, updating background check procedures to prevent private transfers of “military-style rifles” and a new rule that requires lost or stolen firearms be reported within 72 hours.
“Gun violence is a public health crisis in the commonwealth, one that disproportionately harms Pennsylvanians of color and that endangers our communities,” he said. “But there are things we can and should do to reduce the danger gun violence poses to our neighbors, families and friends.”
Wolf also vetoed a bill last year that would have prevented local and state officials from halting gun sales during public emergencies. This, after he waffled on a decision to designate gun stores as essential businesses during the state’s two-month economic shut down. Although the state Supreme Court backed Wolf’s initial decision to deem firearm retailers as nonessential, the governor reversed course nonetheless.