Lawmaker on mission to uphold gun rights

State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler, is on a mission to ensure that people maintain what he calls their God-given rights to own firearms.

Metcalfe is chief sponsor of state House Bill 357, which would make any attempts by the federal government to restrict or ban firearms unenforceable.

The law, which has the support of 76 House members including four Democrats, would provide for criminal penalties against federal or state officials seeking to implement any such law.

Metcalfe told several dozen people who turned out to hear him speak at a special event sponsored by the Williamsport Lycoming County Republican Women that he has a good leg to stand on.

He cited not only the Second Amendment to the federal Constitution but Article 1, Section 21 of the state Constitution, which states that the right of citizens to bear arms shall not be questioned.

Metcalfe said too many people, including many Democrats, are intent to restrict peoples’ right to own guns.

“The Supreme Court has been very clear about the right to bear arms,” he said.

But that isn’t keeping many politicians, including President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, from attempting to make it more difficult to own certain types of guns.

Among the co-sponsors of Metcalfe’s bill, known as the Firearms Freedom Act, are state Reps. Garth Everett, R-Muncy, and Rick Mirabito, D-Williamsport.

Everett told the audience that more gun laws are not needed, just better enforcement of existing ones.

“It’s that simple,” he said.

Metcalfe spoke out against gun-free zones and bans on assault weapons.

He noted that of the gun crimes committed in Philadelphia, a very small percentage involve the sort of firearms many want to ban.

Why more gun laws, he asked, when the firearms used to commit crimes have been obtained illegally anyway?

“Law abiding citizens when armed are the best deterrents to crime,” he said.

Metcalfe said much of the state’s anti-gun support comes from liberal lawmakers from Philadelphia, many of whom likely never have been around firearms.

He said many lawmakers come into office swearing to uphold the Constitution, but end up violating it.

“Firearms are a tool of freedom,” he said.

He urged everyone to get behind House Bill 357.

He said he hopes to get at least 102 House members to back the bill at which point it likely could have enough votes to pass in that chamber.

Among the House members who have not signed onto the legislation, it was noted, is state Rep. Michael K. Hanna Sr., D-Lock Haven.

Metcalfe said he also would like to see stronger leadership from Gov. Tom Corbett on the issue.