One of the state's most conservative lawmakers told a gathering of about 200 people Wednesday night at the Genetti Hotel, 200 W. Fourth St., that legislation he is introducing will make it a crime for the federal government to impose gun bans and restrictions on legal weapons and their accessories.
State Rep. Daryl D. Metcalfe, R-Cranberry Township, said House Bill 357, also known as the Right to Bear Arms Protection Act, told those who attended the Williamsport Tea Party's town hall meeting that his proposal also would nullify any federal attempts to register firearms or restrict magazine capacity on guns in Pennsylvania.
Metcalfe, who has authored bills to curb illegal immigration in the state and for voters to show identification at the polls, said House Bill 357 is designed to protect Second Amendment Rights for Pennsylvania citizens.
Above, state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry Township, speaks Wednesday about state House Bill 357 during a Williamsport Tea Party’s event.
He said that the state's constitutional wording on individuals' rights to bear arms that "shall not be questioned" is even more strongly worded than the U.S. Constitution - something of which he said other state lawmakers aren't even aware.
"I think a lot of people attacking the Constitution don't even know what it says," Metcalfe told the crowd, which responded with applause throughout the evening.
Those attacking Second Amendment rights and ownership of semi-automatic military-style guns are not aware that homicides committed by those types of guns account for 2 to 8 percent of killings, Metcalfe said.
Pennsylvania State Police statistics from 2006 to 2011 also show that while the number of firearms sold in the state dramatically increased during that time, crimes committed with guns went down by 20 percent," he said.
"It proves what (gun control advocates) are saying is not correct.," Metcalfe said.
The legislator also said that a previous 10-year ban on military-style guns in 1995 had "no impact" on crimes committed with them.
"We've got a problem with crime, not with guns," Metcalfe said. "That is why we passed the Castle Doctrine. That is the best deterrent to crimes - law-abiding citizens with a gun."
The Castle Doctrine permits deadly force by legally-armed citizens in their homes or vehicles if faced with imminent death or serious bodily harm.
House Bill 357 also would require the state's attorney general to act on behalf of citizens if faced with federal attempts to impose gun restrictions or bans of legal firearms.
Some state legislators have introduced legislation that would pose threats to gun owners, Metcalfe said. Bills that would require liability insurance for gun owners and jail time for not having a concealed carry permit on one's person have been introduced, he said.
"That's not going to happen on our watch," said state Rep. Garth Everett, R-Muncy, who is a co-sponsor of Metcalfe's proposal and introduced him at the town hall.
Still, House Bill 357 needs just more than 100 co-sponsors to move on, according to Metcalfe. It has about 74 now, with only three state House Democrats listed as co-sponsors.
"They're (Democrats) afraid to get on board, I think, because they're afraid of offending Obama," he said.
Metcalfe and Everett urged those in attendance to contact state Reps. Rick Mirabito, D-Williamsport, and Michael K. Hanna, D-Lock Haven, to support the legislation.
"We can't do it all. That's why we need you people," Metcalfe told the crowd.