With the election of Tom Wolf as Pennsylvania's governor, PA gun owners may be in for some massive gun control changes.
Gun owners in Pennsylvania have been lucky. Since Tom Corbett took office in 2011, he's upheld the Second Amendment and kept gun-toting citizens happy. Not only did he sign the Castle Doctrine, but Corbett also strengthened pre-existing preemption statues, making it easy to carry throughout the state.
But now with Tom Wolf's election, Pennsylvanians may have to prepare for some changes. Although Wolf states he supports the Second Amendment, his stance on gun control and the endorsement by CeasefirePA, the leading gun control group in the state, don't necessarily make it seem that way.
Here is where Wolf stands on different gun control issues and what it could mean for those that carry in Pennsylvania.
1. Background Checks for Guns
Pennsylvania gun retails already do background checks for the purchases of new guns, but Wolf supports expanding these background checks to include the private sale of both rifles and shotguns.
2. Background Checks for Ammo
Wolf also supports background checks for the purchase of ammunition. This would mean that anytime you needed a box of .22 shells, you'd have to have a background check. While this is only an inconvenience to gun owners and hunters, it can be a major hassle for small shops that sell ammunition but not firearms.
3. Retail Ammo License
The governor-elect is also open to supporting bills requiring businesses to have a license to sell or transfer ammunition. Again, this can be a huge burden to small shops, especially in the state's rural areas, and many may consider eliminating ammo from their stock.
4. Inventory Reports
Wolf has also suggested that he would support a gun control mandate that makes all gun retailers provide inventory reports to local law officials. While this might not seem like a big deal to many, it does make a difference to local gun shops and could impact the variety of firearms they carry.
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5. Locking Devices
Pennsylvania's future governor has also considered requiring all firearms, not just handguns and pistols, to have locking devices on them. For those that use their guns to protect themselves and their home, this could put them at a disadvantage in a home invasion situation.
6. Mandating Security Measures
Wolf has also stated he supports mandating gun owners to keep their guns and ammunition stored and secured in separate places. Again, for those gun owners who are concerned about self defense, this creates a problem. During a threatening situation, no one has time to go to one gun cabinet, unlock it, get out their gun and then turn around and go to a different locked cabinet to get the ammunition. It's unrealistic to think you can protect your home that way.
7. Banning Semi-Automatics
Wolf not only supports a ban on automatic weapons, but also wants to ban common semi-automatic firearms that many hunters and shooters own. This is a big deal for Pennsylvania, which currently does not have a ban on any style or type of gun.
8. Limiting Magazines
Another issue for those concerned with self defense is that Wolf supports limiting ammunition magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition. Most guns that hold these style of magazines are specifically designed for self defense.
9. National Reciprocity
Wolf opposes national reciprocity, which means those people who are hoping to be able to cross state lines and still have their permit to carry concealed valid, are probably not going to see it during his term.
10. Lawsuits Against Municipalities
Lastly, Wolf stands against individuals and organizations that pursue lawsuits against municipalities that implement ordinances that go against state law regarding gun ownership regulations. So if you live somewhere, and your city or town violates the Second Amendment, Wolf doesn't have your back.
All things considered, the next four years could be very different than the last four, at least as far as gun control and the lack support for law-abiding, gun-carrying citizens.
Corbett helped move thing forward for gun owners, let's hope Wolf doesn't push Pennsylvania back.