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Lawrence Co. Lawmaker Wants To Abolish Concealed Carry Gun Permits

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Pennsylvania State Rep. Aaron Bernstine makes no apologies for his support of the Second Amendment.

The New Beaver Borough, Lawrence County, lawmaker says he carries a firearm with a concealed carry permit.

But he now wants to abolish the state's concealed carry law that requires a gun owner to register with their county sheriff to get a license.

"If you only want to carry a firearm here in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, what you have the ability to do is, you should have the ability to do that without getting a concealed carry license," Bernstine told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Tuesday.

Bernstine has introduced House Bill 1412 to abolish concealed carry laws for anyone otherwise cleared to own a gun in the state.

"If you only want to carry in Pennsylvania, you should not need a concealed license to carry," Bernstine said. "We have that under Article 1, Section 21, of the Pennsylvania Constitution where it says the right to bear arms shall not be questioned."

The local lawmaker says his bill preserves concealed carry permits for those who wish to carry in other states.

"If you want to carry outside of Pennsylvania, you would be able to have the opportunity to obtain that license to go to those other states where we have reciprocity," Bernstine said.

Not everyone likes the idea of doing away with these concealed carry permits.

Some groups, like CeaseFire Pennsylvania, say it's going to create more problems than it will solve.

Rob Conroy, of CeaseFire, worries about more guns in situations prone to fights.

"Adding more guns to any given situation in the hands of people who haven't been properly vetted to have those firearms, without any kind of training, is a recipe for disaster for the Pennsylvania citizenry," Conroy said.

Not so, says Bernstine.

Thirteen states have no concealed carry permits, including neighboring West Virginia, he says.

"We haven't seen an issue with spike in violence or anything of that nature when this happens," Bernstine said.

Bernstine says his bill will pass, but it's not clear that Governor Wolf would sign it.

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