Briggs calls out process used to advance bill to eliminate license to carry requirements

HARRISBURG, Nov. 10 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, Democratic chairman of the PA House Judiciary Committee, today criticized House Republicans for not giving adequate notice to the public of a committee meeting today in which S.B. 565, a dangerous gun bill, was approved and sent to the full House.

The meeting was announced on the floor of the House and was held immediately with no prior notice.

“Given the complex nature of bills in the Judiciary Committee, it has been the historic practice of the committee to provide at least some advance notice to members and the public of important legislation moving through the process,” said Briggs, D-Montgomery. “It’s only right that we treat each other with courtesy, respect and professionalism, but today that was not the case, and I let my counterpart know I was not happy with the lack of transparency.”

Under S.B. 565, Pennsylvanians would no longer be required to possess a license to carry a concealed firearm or hide a firearm on their person or in their car. The bill also would allow anyone to carry a firearm openly on the streets of Philadelphia.

“Many areas in the Commonwealth have seen a dramatic increase in gun violence, and putting more guns on the street without requiring a license to carry presents a clear and present danger to our communities,” Briggs said. “Many groups, including law enforcement, public health departments and firearm reform groups have lined up to oppose this bill, but unfortunately, no one was given an opportunity to be heard or an opportunity to be in the room when this bill was voted out of committee today.”

“I’m sad to see the Judiciary Committee join the ranks of other dysfunctional, hyper-partisan committees. I left the meeting feeling like a back-room deal was just struck by the majority party with their radical right factions and boosters. What happened today is disappointing but with Republicans lining up to run for higher office, it’s not surprising they want to feed their base red meat even when the governor has made it clear he will veto this bill.

“We have been requesting real firearm reforms, such as lost-and-stolen reporting requirements, safe-storage measures, universal background checks, addressing the proliferation of ghost guns and assault weapons bans, but our Republican counterparts are not interested in being a part of the solution to reduce gun violence. I will continue to work to serve and protect our communities from gun violence.”