Democrats in majority control of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives advanced several gun control measures Wednesday, including one that would ban sales of automatic and semi-automatic guns, after years of standstill in the politically divided state government.
The bills were passed by the Judiciary Committee on party lines and await the full House’s consideration.
Even if the bills clear the House floor, however, they will likely face a cold reception in the state Senate; other gun control measures passed by the House last year did not even get called up in committee. Instead, senators have prioritized working with Democrats to boost funding for anti-violence and mental health programs.
Still, it’s the second time since Democrats regained majority status in the chamber that they’ve used their heft to push gun control measures. They kicked off the current two-year session last March with a hearing on gun violence. Under Republican majorities in both chambers until last year, the Legislature has not seriously considered broadening gun-control measures since 2018.