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Pa. lawmakers try to ban guns from polling places

  • Ben Wasserstein/WITF
A “vote here” sign outside of a polling place.

 Amanda Berg / For Spotlight PA

A “vote here” sign outside of a polling place.

Amid a time of divisive partisanship, poll workers are feeling less safe.

That’s why Rep. Tim Brennan, D-Bucks, is introducing legislation to prevent firearms at polling places.

“You know, the temperature is pretty high right now and people are believing things that aren’t true, number one, and willing to act on those things that aren’t true,” he said.

His legislation, co-sponsored with Rep. Mary Jo Daley, D-Montgomery, would allow gun owners to keep their weapon stored in their car, but would make it a misdemeanor offense to bring it inside a polling place.

Multiple GOP-controlled states – including Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas – have laws banning guns at polling places.

“We have some of the most conservative states in the country that are ahead of us on keeping people safe at the polls,” Brennan said.

Pennsylvania already forbids guns in schools and courthouses. Many polling places are at such locations, and so firearms are already banned at those sites.

Currently if a polling place is at a private business, then firearm possession is the decision of the building’s owners.

The ban would not apply to law enforcement and active military personnel.

The bill would take effect after 60 days. This means if passed even immediately after the House returns on March 18, it would not be in effect for the April 23 primary.

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