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Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association

Gubernatorial Candidates Go on the Record

Several of the gubernatorial candidates are political unknowns on the issue of gun control because they have not served in a capacity to be tested through votes or policy matters which are typically only handled at the state level. Last night, four candidates went on the record.

Most voters don’t spend Friday night tuned into PCN – Pennsylvania’s version of C-SPAN – to watch coverage of small political events. Perhaps that’s what the Democratic gubernatorial candidates were counting on when they debated at the Pennsylvania Progressive Summit. Hoping gun owners, especially those registered with their party, wouldn’t find out, each of the candidates pledged to support various gun control policies.

Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato launched his slate of new gun control policies with a statewide lost and stolen law, followed by ending preemption (particularly if he can't get the lost and stolen legislation passed), and mandatory "child safety locks." Onorato did not specify whether his mandatory lock policy would apply to only sales of firearms or whether it would also apply to gun storage.

Auditor General Jack Wagner dodged most state policy issues on gun rights, describing his agenda as keeping guns out of the hands of "bad people." The one specific policy Wagner highlighted was his support of a ban on semi-automatic rifles.

Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty made ending preemption the priority gun control agenda item in his response at the debate. The second policy he would push if elected governor is to institute one gun-a-month restrictions for all gun sales in Pennsylvania. He did not expand on whether this included a formal registry of gun owners and their purchasers, so we're left with little information on how such sales would be tracked and restricted.

Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Hoeffel ended the round of answers with little more than a political version of "all of the above." Specifically, he named these priorities: gun sales limits, lost and stolen legislation, mandatory locks, and the end of state preemption. In addition to the previously discussed issues, Hoeffel also supports a ban on private sales of firearms in Pennsylvania.

No Republican candidates took part in the debate, though organizers indicated that invitations were extended.