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Pittsburgh Leaders And Gun Owners Split After State Senate Approves 2 Firearms Bills

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Pittsburgh-area leaders and gun owners are sharing their reactions after Pennsylvania's state Senate passed two firearms bills.

One of the bills would remove the state requirement to get a license to carry a concealed firearm. Right now, Pennsylvania gun owners get the license to carry a gun concealed from their county sheriff's office. If they carry a concealed gun without a license, they're committing a felony in the third degree.

"I think it's our American right, and we shouldn't have to ask for permission," said Stephen Bobchak, who enjoys shooting for a hobby.

"What the constitutional carry bill does, it takes away the requirement for a Pennsylvanian to have to get a license to carry their firearm concealed. Now, if they choose to get their license to carry, they can still do that and they can take advantage of the reciprocity agreements that we have with the different states that recognize license to carry in Pennsylvania. We're now giving the person a personal choice, it's giving you a personal choice of what you want to do," said Jody Salerno, the owner of Elite Firearms and Training.

In a press release from Governor Wolf's office, it said, "Governor Tom Wolf today denounced a move by Pennsylvania's Senate Republicans to pass dangerous legislation that would make Pennsylvanians less safe."

Gun owners believe that's not true, and that it's their constitutional right to carry a concealed weapon.

The concealed carry bill would also lower the legal age for getting a permit from 21 to 18. It would also eliminate Philadelphia's permit requirement for concealed carry.

The second firearms bill that the Senate approved would punish municipalities that adopt gun ordinances that are stricter than state law.

Even though Governor Wolf has vowed to veto the bills, Salerno still feels the state Senate's approval was a success

"I think we expect it, it's something we expect him to do. It's unfortunate but this is the first this has ever happened. it's pretty historicaL, so now we actually have a recorded vote, which is going to help the next time the election cycle comes around," Salerno said.

Those in opposition to this legislation believe if the bill passes, it could lead to more violence.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto commended Governor Wolf, and said in a statement, "Pittsburgh knows all too well the dangers of gun violence. Instead of working to pass meaningful and popular common-sense reforms to address gun violence, the State Senate has voted to expand concealed carry and to punish municipalities and cities who act to keep their residents safe when those in Harrisburg refuse to. I want to thank Governor Wolf for vowing to veto both of these dangerous bills and standing up for the common-sense reform Pittsburghers and Pennsylvanians need and deserve."

"It's the law-abiding citizens that are coming into the gun stores and getting the background checks. So how is me giving $20 to my local sheriff's department and doing another background check making you any safer? If I'm legally allowed to have a gun, I have a gun, whether or not you can see it," said Salerno.

Salerno said it's important to be a responsible gun owner by getting trained and learning how to use a gun effectively and legally. She said it's also important to make sure you lock up your firearms and keep them out of the wrong hands.

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