A Bucks County state senator wants to codify a ban on “assault weapons” in Pennsylvania law for the second time in less than 12 months.

Sen. Steve Santarsiero, along with Sen. John Kane (D-Delaware/Chester), wrote in a co-sponsorship memo last week they were planning “to introduce legislation that would enact an assault weapons ban in Pennsylvania.”

“Our bill would mirror language that is very similar to what was enacted in Connecticut after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which is considered to be some of the toughest in the nation,” the senators said.

Neither senator responded to queries seeking more information on the proposal, including whether or not the Democratic legislators expect any constitutional challenges to the bill at the state and federal levels. The measure, which is unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled Senate, would ban “more than 150 gun models” as well as “the sale of gun magazines with a capacity of more than ten rounds.”

Chris Dorr, director of the Pennsylvania Firearms Association, called the new bill a “straight-up effort to disarm their political opponents.”

“It is unconstitutional, it’s a violation of Pennsylvania’s constitution, and the Pennsylvania Firearms Association will aggressively prosecute supporters of this gun-grab in the court of public opinion in every election to come, especially Democrats in vulnerable districts,” he said.

This is Santarsiero’s second attempt in less than a year to pass a Pennsylvania “assault weapons” ban. Last year’s legislation died in the state Senate Judiciary Committee in June.

At the time, Santarsiero called access to so-called assault weapons “one of the greatest threats to the health and safety of Pennsylvanians.”

Adam Kraut, a Chester County native and director of the Second Amendment Foundation, told DVJournal that due to U.S. Supreme Court precedent, lawmakers in Pennsylvania would “have to dig into history” in order to justify the ban.

Kraut pointed to the 2022 Supreme Court ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, in which the high court held that any gun control passed in the U.S. must be “consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.”

“That’s the hurdle that the legislature is going to have the pass, by finding something in U.S. history that shows these types of firearms can, in fact, be restricted,” Kraut said.

The Pennsylvania Constitution is rare among U.S. state constitutions for having a gun ownership provision codified in the state charter since the country’s founding in 1776.

The state constitution declares citizens “have a right to bear arms for the defence [sic] of themselves and the state,” though courts have consistently permitted broad firearm regulations despite that provision.

“Assault weapons” are a popular target for lawmakers wishing to enact strict gun control regulations, though the precise definition of that class of firearms remains elusive.

Asked what guns fall under the label “assault weapon,” Jim Benoit, owner of Cajun Firearms in West Chester, said the vague term is often applied to “typically black, scary-looking rifles.”

“The definition varies state by state and seems to be a moving target,” he said. “Within the industry, the term is frowned upon, and instead, AR-15s are referred to as Modern Sporting Rifles.

“In many states, these rifles are used for hunting in addition to target/sport shooting and personal protection,” he added.

Kraut echoed that view, pointing to military guides that define “assault weapons” as those capable of fully automatic or burst-firing modes, both of which are rare among U.S. gun owners.

“I’ve never seen the gun industry refer to [sporting rifles] as ‘assault weapons,’” he said.

A 1994 federal ban on these weapons identified a broad class of brands and types of firearms with certain features, such as telescoping stocks and bayonet mounts. Santarsiero’s assault weapons ban contains similar provisions.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll released in February found most Americans oppose a national ban on so-called “assault weapons.”

Daniel Payne is the editor of InsideSources.

This article was republished with permission from the Delaware Valley Journal.

5 thoughts on “Bucks County Dem proposes “assault weapons” ban in Pennsylvania”

  1. It is always interesting to see the billionaires backing opportunist politicians having their own private security which are armed. The politicians these kinds of bans love it as it gets them off the hook for having to deal with the root causes of violence and the social inequities that create those conditions. It is also a great way to virtue signal. In any case, a disarmed citizenry is a citizenry that can be easily controlled. A look back at the not-too-distant past can see this in Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, all of the previous dictatorships. Currently, the President of Brazil is demanding everybody turn in their weapons to “reduce the chance of violence.” The UK has gone so far with weapons control that you cannot buy steel knives, just plastic. Must make eating steak a real adventure. By the way, only the military has a concept of what an “assault weapon” is, basically a weapon that has automatic fire capability (just hold the trigger back and it continuously fires). In today’s warfare, no soldier goes “out of the trenches and over the top” in a charge on the enemy needing an “assault weapon” unless, of course, they want to commit suicide.

  2. A good starting point would be a workable definition of what actually constitutes an assault weapon. Clearly it would be one that fires rounds automatically as opposed to semi-automatically. But after that, what would go into the definition, without a clear and understandable definition it is almost certain that any such law would be challenged and could very possibly fail to be upheld under judicial review.

  3. Hold on a second. The overdose deaths in the US have increased to more than 200,000 over the last two years and all Biden’s democrat controlled government ( with additional Republican support when called for ) comes up with as a solution is a greater availability of Narcan ? Can’t wait to hear those commercials on the car radio.

    But why can’t gun violence be controlled like that? Duplicate the Narcan fantasy solution by providing bullet proof vests for everyone so the number of victims of gun violence is reduced. Joe can replace Kevlar with that wonder of the compounded material world, graphene .

    Look at what they’re doing at https://citizenarmor.com/blogs/blog/the-science-of-graphene

    Hey, Biden’s spent billions of dollars and sent just about all our military equipment over to that clown in the Ukraine what’s the big deal spending 1 or 2 billion American dollars on the terrified segment of America that believes only the government can protect them even though it is documented that dialing 911 could be the last call you make.


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