On Wednesday, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf vetoed two bills from the state legislature. The first bill, House Bill 2440, would have repealed the state’s ban on open firearms carry during governor-declared states of emergency. The second, House Bill 1747, would have prevented the governor from closing gun shops and ranges during emergencies while also preventing the suspension of firearms and ammo sales. These bills were introduced and passed mostly along partisan lines in response to Governor Wolf’s closure of these establishments, purportedly to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.
In Wolf’s veto message to the Commonwealth, he said that the legislation “represents another meaningless attempt to alter the necessary tools for fighting the pandemic” and that it would be “an infringement on the authority and responsibility” of the governor during states of emergency. Like Governors Cuomo, Murphy, and Newsom, it seems that Tom Wolf believes that he is the master of his own fiefdom, and that Pennsylvanians are his serfs.
What Governor Wolf fails to understand is that the right to keep and bear arms is a natural right enshrined in the Constitution, which is the Supreme Law of the Land. By trying to suspend the right of Pennsylvanians to carry arms for self-defense, Wolf is showing the world that he neither values nor understands the basic values of our Republic. Likewise, and ironically enough, Wolf, a purported businessman, is demonstrating that he lacks a fundamental understanding of the relationship between resource scarcity and crime, which is fitting considering he attended an elite boarding school and some of the most exclusive schools domestically and abroad. After all, how can someone who’s never worked in a convenience store or delivered packages understand the risks posed by people willing to do violence to put food on their tables?
Wolf’s veto of these self-defense bills should not be news in and of itself. What is critical to consider is why they were even considered necessary in the first place. Wolf’s representation of the right to self-defense as an infringement on his authority can only be interpreted one way: the state and only the state should be able to use deadly force, at least during emergencies. In a period such as the perpetual COVID-19 epidemic, that means Pennsylvanians and those living under like-minded governors are being told that they must make a choice: prepare to defend yourself on the street and in the court, or prepare for the burial plot. This differs only slightly from the cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, who simply want to prevent people from bearing arms altogether (fret not - we are already suing them both). Some might call that tyranny, or at least we would.