One Pennsylvania lawmaker is making it his mission to derail two pieces of legislation proposed in the Pennsylvania Legislature that he believes infringe on the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment, even if it meant taking extreme measures.
“We’re going to do every single thing that we can do to stop the folks in the anti-gun movement of achieving their goals of removing firearms from law-abiding citizens in Pennsylvania,” said state Rep. Aaron Bernstine, (R-10, New Beaver).
To that end, Rep. Berstine and his staff worked late into the evening on June 20 to draft 79 amendments to the two measures, and on June 21, Rep. Bernstine filed all 79 amendments.
Introduced by state Rep. Madeline Dean, (D-Montgomery County), in October, this piece of legislation seeks to ban “multi-burst trigger activators” such as bump stocks that allow semi-automatic rifles to mimic the firing speed of automatic weapons.
Bernstine believes banning bump stocks sets a bad precedent for the gun rights of law-abiding citizens, especially since such devices have only been used in one mass shooting ever. “We’re talking about a slippery slope where people are intending to infringe on Second Amendment rights,” he said. “I take that seriously.”
HB 2227 was introduced by state Rep. Todd Stephens, (R-Montgomery County), in April. Upon filing this measure, Rep. Stephens released a statement that this bill would create an extreme risk protective order (ERPO) that a court would issue to prohibit someone from possessing guns when they pose an extreme risk to themselves or others. The bill would also require the information be forwarded to the state police to have the individual’s name listed on the prohibited person’s list for gun purchase background checks.
Under the proposed law, temporary extreme risk protective orders could be issued upon the filing of a petition by law enforcement or a family member against an individual thought to be a danger to himself or others without a hearing. But a final order would require a “full expedited hearing” within ten days, involving the subject of the order, evidence, and testimony.
What is troubling are some of the factors listed in the proposed law that the court could consider in determining whether the individual did indeed pose a threat, including abuse of alcohol, recklessly brandishing a firearm, or even the recent acquisition or attempted acquisition of a firearm, among others.
“Legislation that chips away at our Second Amendment rights will never get my support in the General Assembly, and I’ll do everything in my power to stop such attempts in their tracks,” Bernstine said.
His attempt began in earnest when he filed his 79 amendments.
“These amendments will drastically revise the original bills to ensure our constitutional right to keep and bear arms is not threatened or questioned,” he said, adding, “Our state Constitution is crystal clear when it says citizens’ Second Amendment rights ‘shall not be questioned.’ I took an oath to defend and protect our Constitution, and I take that very seriously.”
While not a filibuster, Bernstine acknowledged his tactics may have the same effect, forcing the House into lengthy debates on each amendment unless the bills were shelved.
“I’m confident that what we did will stop anti-gun legislation from moving forward,” stated Bernstine, who had vowed to “use any and all legislative tactics available to defeat these attempts to infringe on the rights of law-abiding gun owners.”
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