Pennsylvania is one of 14 states that do not, on a statewide basis, require a permit to carry a firearm openly, but do require a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Republican legislators are promoting a bill to end this distinction in favor of permitless carrying — so-called “constitutional carry.” If the bill were to pass and be signed into law, the commonwealth would become the 22nd state to adopt such a policy.
Let’s get one point out of the way: The bill will pass the Legislature, but it will not be signed into law, at least by Gov. Tom Wolf. In fact, the point of this bill is not to become law at all, but rather to force Democratic legislators in competitive districts to cast a vote that will either enrage their party’s base or enrage their home district’s voters.