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Some Pa. lawmakers are looking to expand concealed-carry rights for gun owners

Senate Bill 565, sponsored by Senator Cris Dush of Clinton County, would allow for concealed carry in Pennsylvania without a permit.

YORK, Pa. — UPDATE (Nov. 10): The Pa. Senate voted to pass Senate Bills 448 and 565.

Both bills will now head to the state House of Representatives for consideration.

Gov. Tom Wolf is expected to veto both bills if they were to reach his desk.

PREVIOUSLY: In Pennsylvania, if you want to carry a concealed firearm, whether it’s at the supermarket, a restaurant, or a mall, you have to get a permit. 

“That allows law enforcement to do some additional checks to make sure that you’re not going to endanger public safety," said Adam Garber from Ceasefire PA. 

However, one proposed bill, Senate Bill 565, sponsored by Senator Cris Dush of Clinton County, would allow for concealed carry in Pennsylvania without a permit.

“When we don’t have the additional check by law enforcement to ensure public safety, we’re going to see more violence in our community, on top of the already horrific destructions our communities are facing today," said Garber.

The bill would also lower the legal age from 21 to 18, and allow open carry without a permit in Philadelphia.

Some gun owners say that although everyone has the constitutional right to carry, there also needs to be an orderly process. 

“If you don’t have some sort of permit or processing, it’s just gonna make for more crime," said gun owner Ben Fazio. 

“I think that’s a way of evaluating some of the people that are asking to carry a weapon, and I think that processing keeps some people who are not allowed to have a weapon to at least getting a permit," said gun owner Scott Hershey. 

However, Senator Dush believes it is unjust and unconstitutionally questionable to add regulations on law-abiding citizens just because they would rather carry their firearms concealed.

Another Pennsylvania Lawmaker, Republican Senator Wayne Langerholc Jr of Cambria County, is looking to prevent local officials from passing gun control policies by allowing people to sue municipalities or counties for passing gun laws that are stricter than the current state laws.  

“Each municipality, I don’t think, needs their own separate law that says 'yeah you can or not,'" said Fazio. 

“I think a lot of the attempts at regulation, is basically regulating the good guy," said Hershey. 

They would also be able to seek compensation for the legal expenses. 

Ceasefire PA says this would force municipalities and taxpayers to pay the legal costs if they lost the lawsuit. 

“If you’re a local official, you should keep going to the funerals of your residents, every single day, every single week, and mourn with your residents, and cry with them, and say I can’t do anything because the state has tied my hand and is forcing my city to pay the bill," said Garber. 

Senator Langerholc believes this bill is imperative because local officials continue to pass ordinances. 

He adds that when no constant state laws are in place, the result can be disorderly. 

Governor Tom Wolf is expected to veto both bills.

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