24 republican lawmakers and one democrat are currently prepping House Bill 38, which would make gun owners a “protected class.”
The legislation “is currently in committee,” but the lawmakers want to amend the Pennsylvania Human Rights Act (PHRA,) to “provide protection from discrimination for individuals who choose to exercise constitutionally protected rights to own or carry a firearm for self-defense.”
HB 38 would allow employees to bear arms while on workplace property and would prevent employers from banning guns from the premises.
Supporters of the bill argue that those who legally own or carry firearms are unfairly demonized and often discriminated against.
HB 38 sponsor, Rep. Rick Saccone of Jefferson Hills, PA gave some examples of this. Employers at both Chuck E. Cheese and Waffle House in Kentucky have refused to serve law-abiding civilians carrying firearms due to a company policy.
Saccone believes that employees, who have gun permits, also have a right to protect themselves while on the job.
“I believe that there are many landlords, employers and places of public accommodation with policies that preclude law-abiding gun owners from exercising their right keep and bear arms,” write Saccone in a memo about the bill.
Saccone recently attended the “Make the Second Amendment Great Again” rally, along with fellow republicans Jason Ortitay and Mike Turzai.
“While we sleep, the other side works night and day to try and take away our constitutional rights,” said Saccone at the rally, as reported by the Associated Press.
Saccone has recently introduced three other pro-gun bills.
However, the HB 38 is getting push-back from anti-gun violence groups.
“The Second Amendment right is not overly burdened here, and so why (gun carriers) need to be in a protected class is just a little bit mind-boggling,” said Shira Goodman of CeaseFire PA. “It’s very easy to get a gun here. We’re an open-carry state, except for Philadelphia. It’s not very hard to get a concealed carry license. We don’t have waiting periods. We don’t have registration and license.”
Currently, gun carriers working in an office with a policy barring firearms on the premise, are unable to protect themselves and others.
Consider the recent Orlando shooting, where a disgruntled employee shot five former co-workers in the workplace before shooting himself. Imagine if someone in the office had a concealed carry and how the outcome could have been much different.
Author’s note: The HB 38 offers an acceptable form of a “protected class.” But, everyone should be protected and have free speech, no exceptions. A “hate crime” is just a crime and just because someone is sensitive doesn’t mean they should have special rights. Gun owners, who are law-abiding citizens, shouldn’t be discriminated against either with carrying their weapon. This stigma around guns is really getting old.