Pennsylvania AG Race One of Sharp Divide Over Gun Policy

Pennsylvania has two choices for Attorney General. And one of them is a gun control advocate.


The two candidates vying to become the Keystone State’s top law enforcement officer have very different views on gun control.

Replacing outgoing Attorney General Kathleen Kane — the first Democrat ever elected to the position and now on her way to jail on felony perjury charges — will be either fellow Democrat Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro or Republican state Sen. John C. Rafferty Jr. Both men are from the Pittsburgh area but come with opposing viewpoints on gun politics.

Shapiro, in an editorial penned earlier this year for The York Daily Record, promised to implement “model gun show procedures” to crack down on sales in parking lots as well as prosecute prohibited firearms purchasers who fail background checks to buy guns while planning to step up straw purchasing awareness.

Moving past that, he wants to review Pennsylvania’s concealed carry reciprocity agreements and sever those he finds do not mirror the state’s own guidelines for issuance. A similar move by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring earlier this year sparked outrage among gun owners and conservative lawmakers there and was quickly rolled back.

Next on Shaprio’s list are expanded background checks to cover private sales of long guns. The state currently has a mandate that requires only checks on the private transfers of handguns…

…“I support the Second Amendment and law-abiding citizens’ rights to own firearms,” says Shapiro. “I also believe we can work together to strengthen our policies to reduce and prevent gun violence, prosecute criminals and make Pennsylvania safer for all our citizens.”

As for Raffety… He is also a fan of strong state preemption laws, which would halt local gun control ordinances.

“Whatever the laws are throughout the Commonwealth, they should be consistent throughout all 67 counties,” said Rafferty on WITF’s Smart Talk. “If that’s going to happen, then the legislature would have to take up that initiative and the legislature would have to pass it to get it to the governor for his signature.”

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