Comitta introduces legislation prohibiting loaded firearms in vehicles
HARRISBURG, Sept. 25 – State Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-Chester, this week introduced legislation that would prohibit motorists from carrying loaded firearms in their vehicles.
Comitta modeled the legislation in the wake of the June 2017 road-rage killing of Bayard Rustin High School graduate Bianca Roberson.
“Bianca was a talented student with a bright future that was cut short due to a senseless act of violence,” Comitta said during a Capitol news conference announcing the bill today. “What happened to Bianca should never have happened. We cannot allow residents of the commonwealth to live in danger of firearm violence as a result of road rage.”
H.B. 2669 would prohibit a person from carrying a loaded firearm in any vehicle, with the exception of firearms related to game hunting, law enforcement, military personnel or security drivers. A person who is found carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle would be charged with a misdemeanor for a first offense, and a first-degree misdemeanor for a second or subsequent offense.
“It might seem like a simple change, but studies show that drivers who have a firearm in their vehicle may be more prone to anger and more likely to engage in aggressive driving than those who did not have a gun,” Comitta said.
“That gun should not be further ready to use. We already know that the mere presence of a gun in a home increases suicide rates and the likelihood that an abuser shoots dead a domestic partner.
“In unstable situations, we must do what we can to prevent potential energy from turning into deadly kinetic energy – especially on roads. I and most gun safety proponents still protect Second Amendment rights and commonsense gun safety measures.”
Analysis performed by The Trace found that road rage incidents in which someone in a car brandished a gun more than doubled in a three-year span studied, from 247 in 2014 to 620 in 2016. All told, there were at least 1,319 road rage episodes involving firearms over that span. Nationwide, at least 354 people were wounded and 136 people were killed.
Companion legislation in the Senate was introduced by state Sen. Vincent Hughes, D-Phila.