State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

The State House Sound Bites Podcast is now called State of the State and is a part of PA Post, a digital-first, citizen-focused news organization to hold Pennsylvania’s government accountable to its citizens.

After state House's marathon gun hearing, fundamental differences remain

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Apr 19, 2018 6:16 AM
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Pittsburgh Democrat Jake Wheatley testifies before the GOP-controlled Judiciary Committee, arguing against increased policing in response to gun violence. (Photo by AP)


(Harrisburg) -- State House lawmakers have completed their final session in a two-week series of Judiciary Committee hearings on gun violence.

They were inspired by the call for tougher gun laws in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people.

Despite some agreement on the importance of the issue, lawmakers are struggling mightily with solutions.

They tangled over one proposal after another, from expanding background checks, to arming teachers, to mandating schools install metal detectors, to banning AR-15 style weapons

But GOP Committee Chairman Ron Marsico said a few rare bills do have bipartisan support.

"Is there going to be a consensus?" he asked. "I would think so, but I'm not sure. So, we have a few weeks to go through these bills with our members and with staff to see if we do have consensus."

One of the most popular measures--pitched largely as a domestic-violence-prevention bill--would require people under restraining orders to surrender their weapons to police, not friends or family.

It has already passed the Senate.

Another would allow prosecution of people charged with attempted violent crimes if they carry firearms.

GOP sponsor Seth Grove of York County noted, it would basically fix a legal oversight.

"House Bill 2275 simply does a drafting, easy fix," he said. "But the consequences of this issue are very real."

Marsico said after a review of all the proposed legislation is done, he's planning another hearing for next month.

This time, he is hoping to bring in members of the public to give testimony.

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