Burns refuses to dilute Second Amendment rights

Votes against gun-control package that targets law-abiding gun owners

HARRISBURG, May 22 – Amid concerns that the proposals would dilute the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens, state Rep. Frank Burns today bucked his party to vote against a gun-control package he believes would punish the wrong people.

Burns, D-Cambria, specifically balked at criminalizing gun owners who’ve done nothing wrong, instead of going after gun-using criminals, many of whom are already prohibited from owning firearms because of prior convictions.

“These three bills may have gotten out of the House Judiciary Committee with party-line votes, but they didn’t pass the House that way because I voted my conscience,” Burns said. “I refuse to chip away at the Second Amendment rights of the people of Cambria County and Pennsylvania, which is the crystal-clear aim of this legislation.”

Burns said one part of the package he rejected would impose criminal charges on a gun owner for not reporting a lost or stolen firearm within 72 hours after discovery of the missing weapon.

“Instead of proposing stronger penalties for the criminal who actually steals a gun and uses it to shoot someone, ‘progressives’ want to make criminals of the gun owner, punishing him or her for not acting quickly enough to report a lost or stolen gun,” Burns said. “It’s ironic that many of the backers of bills like this would raise a ruckus if police were to stop and frisk people looking for any promptly reported lost or stolen weapons.”

Other components of the package would require background checks for the private sale of rifles and shotguns, ending the so-called “gun show loophole” – and would allow judges to order the temporary confiscation of a person’s firearms if asked by family members or police, under what is known as a “red flag” law.

Burns said he sees potential for the “red flag” law to be abused – and perhaps even weaponized – by spouses, other family members and the courts. He also believes expanding background checks to include private sales of long guns is a red herring when it comes to the big picture.

“I seriously doubt that many, if any, gun-related crimes in Cambria County or elsewhere are committed by someone wielding a shotgun purchased at a gun show,” Burns said.