Wednesday, March 4, 2015

PA gets official gun

No budget, no Philly schools bill -- but at least the state now has its own official firearm.

PA gets official gun

June didn't bring PA a budget. It didn't bring Philly sought after help for schools. But the Legislature and Gov. Corbett at least managed to bring Pennsylvania its own official firearm.

Yep, quietly (I don't recall any announcement, press release or bill-signing event), the House and Senate passed (by wide margins) and Gov. Corbett signed a measure making the Pennsylvania longrifle the state's official gun.

Got some international attention. Reuters reported early in June that the measure was on the move and that PA could join four other states -- Arizona, Indiana, Utah and West Virginia -- in having an official firearm.

And it did. The House passed it June 4, 173-24. The Senate acted June 16. Passed it unanimously, 48-0.

Legislative roll call records show Philly lawmakers in both chambers backed the measure.

In fairness, the bill also designates the Piper Cub as the state's official aircraft. (I guess if you're spending time naming planes you might as well pick your favorite gun.) So it's possible Philly lawmakers didn't know what they were voting for.

Certainly wouldn't be the first time.

Still, city senators recorded as voting "yes" were Farnese, Hughes, Stack, Tartaglione, Washington and Williams. Sen. Kitchen didn't vote.

In the House, city Reps. Cruz, Delissio, Donatucci, Keller, McGeehan, Miranda, Neilson, O'Brien, Roebuck, Sabatina, Taylor and Waters all are recorded "yes" votes.

The bill reads, in part, "Future generations deserve the right to appreciate the heritage of this long-barreled rifle."

But not everyone appreciated the vote.

Reuters quotes Shira Goodman of Ceasefire PA as saying lawmakers wasted their time on the bill while ignoring proposals to expand background checks and require reporting of stolen firearms.

"If this is the only bill that passes since Sandy Hook, that's a disgrace," she said.

I say, welcome to Pennsylvania -- the land of low expectations.




John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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