State House GOP moves to bottle up 4 gun safety proposals

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Republicans used a legislative bill-shuffling strategy Monday to voluntarily relinquish a Pennsylvania House committee’s control over four bills that address gun violence.

The Judiciary Committee voted to ask the speaker to have another panel take over the bills after Democrats tried to force consideration of the proposals.

The vote, after a testy exchange between the two parties during a Judiciary Committee meeting, concerned proposals regarding safe gun storage, an assault weapons ban, a red flag bill and a measure to give local governments power to enact their own protections.

All Republicans and about half of the Democrats voted to send the bill package back to Speaker Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, with a recommendation that he pass them over to the Local Government Committee. Democrats who voted with the GOP said they did so in hopes the proposals might somehow advance there, believing there is no hope for action on the bills in the Judiciary Committee.

“These are efforts that are supported by 80%, 90% of our citizens,” said the committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Tim Briggs of Montgomery County. “And we’re going to punt.”

Briggs told Republicans that when another mass shooting happens without action by lawmakers, “blood’s on your hands.” The chair, Rep. Rob Kauffman, R-Franklin, responded that “the blood is on the hands of the criminals” using the guns to hurt people.

Also Monday, three Republican state House members announced they were seeking support for a proposal to impeach Democratic District Attorney Larry Krasner in Philadelphia. They argue Krasner, who easily won reelection last year, has not done enough to enforce criminal laws.


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