HARRISBURG – A few hundred gun rights advocates took their cause to Pennsylvania lawmakers Tuesday as part of Second Amendment Action Day, an annual event that focuses on one of the state’s most divisive political issues.
The rally brought dozens of sympathetic legislators to the steps of the state Capitol, and after an hour of speeches in a steady rain, those in attendance fanned out to make their case directly to the elected representatives. Speakers warned Second Amendment rights are at risk and described pending legislation that could further broaden gun rights.
Rep. Rick Saccone, R-Allegheny, touted his proposal to eliminate the need for a license to carry a concealed weapon.
“There’s no reason we need the government’s permission to put a coat over our weapons,” Saccone told the crowd.
There should be a right to carry a gun “even when we park on our employer’s property,” said Kim Stolfer, president of Firearm Owners Against Crime.
He said Pennsylvania should eliminate the state police-run Pennsylvania Instant Check System, a background check for those who want to buy firearms or obtain concealed carry permits.
Rep. Tim Krieger, R-Westmoreland, spoke about his proposal to prevent the state police from maintaining a list of firearm purchasers.
“What our opponents can never seem to understand is that gun control can never make us safe,” Krieger said.
Bill Taylor, a 62-year-old retired mechanic from northeastern Pennsylvania, joined dozens of fellow members of the Factoryville Sportsmen’s Club who took a bus trip to the rally.
He said he began competitive rifle shooting in high school and wanted to show his support for others with similar interests.
“I’ve met some fantastic people and I’d like to keep it that way,” Taylor said.
Shira Goodman with CeaseFirePA, which advocates to keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them and to reduce the supply of illegal guns, said her group’s supporters were reaching out to lawmakers Tuesday with their own message, including expanding background checks to the private sale of long guns.
“In the last year, year and a half, people who care about this issue have gotten much more vocal, more active in contacting their legislators and writing letters to the editor on this issue,” Goodman said.