The House, meeting to consider crime-fighting proposals this past Tuesday, rejected every gun-control measure on the agenda, including bills to limit gun purchases to one a month and to impose a statewide ban on so-called assault weapons. They were defeated on the House floor. Representative Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny) proposed a statewide ban on “assault weapons” but the legislation failed by a vote of 63-124, as did a plan offered by Representative John Myers (D-Philadelphia) to ban such firearms in Philadelphia only, which lawmakers rejected in a 57-128 vote.
The House also rejected several gun-control measures last week, including legislation that would have imposed reporting requirements on gun sellers, supposedly to prevent “straw” buying, as well as bills to mandate child safety locks on firearms and allow Philadelphia to regulate the sale of guns and ammunition.
The gun-control debate came during the course of a rarely used legislative procedure known as the Committee of the Whole. Each lawmaker was given an opportunity to offer crime-fighting measures in the committee, and informal votes were taken to determine which proposals would be considered in regular session. Over the three days of debate, the House plowed through nearly a 100 proposals of the crime-focused Committee of the Whole. Lawmakers endorsed many bills toughening criminal penalties or buttressing law enforcement, including a plan to add up to 10,000 new police officers to local forces by 2010, with a mix of state and local funding.