One state lawmaker is introducing a new bill that he says would protect Pennsylvania gun owners, but it’s being met with some intense backlash from those who say it infringes on their constitutional right.
Rep. Angel Cruz, of Philadelphia, is the prime sponsor of House Bill 768 — the Firearm Registration Act. It would require anyone who owns a gun in Pennsylvania to register the gun every year through state police for a $10 fee.
Cruz says it will help police with investigations, including tracking lost or stolen guns.
“This brings protection to a gun owner, that they don’t have charges brought up against them if that gun is used for any criminal doings.”
“I think that’s a phony statement and a phony argument,” said Scaringi Law Senior Associate Atty. Brian Caffrey.
The bill is being met with backlash by some who say it violates a gun owner’s Second Amendment rights.
“This is a very intrusive idea and I believe it is an affront to the constitutions of Pennsylvania and of the United States,” Caffrey said.
“I’m not taking guns away from anyone,” Cruz said. “I’m not violating anyone’s second constitutional amendment.”
But some of the criticism faced by Cruz has crossed into threats.
“We’re getting threatening phone calls,” he said.
And emails. One from an apparent retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army called the representative a racial slur, daring him to try to take his guns. It ended with, “I’ve killed people for lesser reasons.”
“I’m doing this because the constituents of the 180th legislative district needed me to do something of this nature,” Cruz said. “That’s why I’m doing it.”
The bill would allow for exceptions to the registry for things like antiques or collectibles.