On June 7, hundreds of people gathered in front of the Pennsylvania State Capitol for the 2021 Right to Keep and Bear Arms Rally, including several dozens of pro-Second Amendment state lawmakers standing on the Capitol steps.
State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, a Republican, said: “We will not allow any new federal dictates on gun control to be allowed in Pennsylvania. We will not allow any further congressional violations of our Second Amendment. We will not allow any executive orders that violate our Second Amendment. Nor will we allow any court decisions from the federal level that would violate our Second Amendment.”
Metcalfe is the primary sponsor of House Bill 357, the Right to Bear Arms and Protection Act, which provides that any Federal law that attempts to register, restrict, or ban a firearm, or to limit the size of a magazine of a firearm in Pennsylvania shall be unenforceable in this Commonwealth.
The other two high-priority pieces of legislation receiving top billing are House Bill 659, which would make Pennsylvania the 22nd state in the nation to implement “Constitutional Carry,” and House Bill 979 which would prohibit and deter local government entities from illegally imposing their own ordinances or regulations on firearms and ammunition.
The keynote speaker, Rep. Scott Perry (R-Penn.) said this annual rally is important, “All the people who across the country that believe in this effort, we are law-abiding people who follow the rules, who go & get a permit to exercise our rights, who support the law, and defend supporting and funding the police.”
Perry shared three stories about people who used a gun to defend themselves as their last line of defense. He noted, “Asian gun ownership rose by 46 [percent] in 2020. … Black American gun ownership rose by 60 [percent]. 8.4 million Americans bought a firearm to protect themselves last year alone.”
President and chairman of firearm owners against crime Kim Stouffer held a long list of gun bills: “Pennsylvania legislators are taking the lead from Washington radicals, and they’re trying to curtail our freedoms.”
“While these fine legislators work hard, anti-gun activists are working just as hard. More than 26 anti-gun bills have been introduced,” said state Rep. Matt Dowling, a Republican and chairman of the Pennsylvania House Second Amendment Caucus, who is the primary sponsor of House Bill 979.
Perry said he believes that “These [gun] rights are enshrined in law. These rights aren’t given to us by politicians. They are outlined in our Constitution.”
Perry was the original Pennsylvania Castle Doctrine sponsor when he was a Pennsylvania house member. He is also a retired general from the Army National Guard.
While Pennsylvania is introducing more pro-gun bills, there is still a big difference from other states. Republican Pennsylvania House Majority Judiciary Chairman Rep. Rob Kauffman last week visited Arizona and talked to their legislators: “They said, ‘All of our Democrats out here are pro-gun.’ I was shocked.”
Kauffman said at the rally, “Those of you out there who have Democrat legislators that represent you, I’m thinking you may need to start teaching them a thing or two because we need to see a little bit more of that here in the Pennsylvania State Capitol like I heard about in the Arizona Capitol.”
Besides Arizona, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the Biden administration arguments in a case from Rhode Island that police should be allowed to enter homes without a warrant to seize handguns, on May 17.
“Recently we just had a huge win in the Supreme Court. Nine to zero to protect the second amendment and the Fourth Amendment,” said state Rep. Stephanie Borowicz, a Republican.
Metcalfe said the annual rally started 16 years ago, when the governor was prone to gun-grabbing, and it has worked over the years.
“Law-abiding citizens are not the problem, the criminal element is the problem,” he said. “Law-abiding citizens need to be armed to protect themselves against attack.
“But right now, I think it’s more important than ever, for states to push back with bills like House Bill 357, And that is the bill that would push back in any future federal attempts to criminalize law-abiding activity and to take away the firearms or the ammunition of law-abiding citizens.”
That bill has over 70 co-sponsors and is currently in the Judiciary Committee.
“I think it’s it comes down to so much distrust in government and all levels,” state Rep. Dave Zimmerman, a Republican, told The Epoch Times after the rally. “A lot of it comes from the whole election issue back in November, and then the COVID issue last year, has created so much distrust. That’s why we’re having all these rallies and it just really gets people fired up and concerned about preserving the Second Amendment.
“I’m always going to defend all the Constitution and one like the Second Amendment, as well, we need to we need to be standing out for it.”