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Gun rights waiver bill introduced

The idea of relinquishing the right to gun ownership has come to Pennsylvania.

Rep. Darisha Parker, D-Philadelphia, has introduced House Bill 1077 which would allow those who believe they are a threat to themselves to relinquish their right to purchase a gun. Similar legislation was proposed in New York’s state Legislature in November 2020.

“My legislation will permit individuals who believe that they are a threat to themselves or others to request to be placed on a voluntary firearm purchase self-exclusion list for one year, three years, or five years. Placement on the list is entirely voluntary and will not infringe on any individual’s Second Amendment rights,” Parker wrote in her legislative memorandum.

The New York legislation is based in part on a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Frederick Vars and Ian Ayres titled “Suicide Accounts for Most Gun Deaths. A Libertarian Approach Could Help.”

Washington and Virginia have recently enacted legislation, and nine other states, including Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin, have introduced similar bills in the legislatures. Vars and Ayres have conducted research and published numerous articles supporting this proposal, including a survey where 46% of 200 psychiatric patients in Alabama indicated that they would sign up for a version of the registry if given the opportunity.

“Because the proposal is voluntary and confidential, it would not raise any serious constitutional concerns,” Vars wrote in a Washington Post op/ed published in 2017. “This is not gun control; it is self-control. The Second Amendment gives us a right to bear arms for self-defense. For some people, self-defense means keeping firearms at a safe distance.”

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