Delco pol proposes ID requirement for buying ammo
State Rep. Brian Kirkland, D-159 of Chester, announced this week that he would propose a new law requiring proof of identification to buy ammunition in the state.
Current law only requires sellers to “reasonably believe” people buying ammunition are of age, according to Kirkland, but he wants to make it mandatory for identification to be presented on every sale.
“Protecting our communities from the horrific impact of gun violence is extremely important to me,” Kirkland stated in a release. “From Sandy Hook to Stoneman Douglas High School, we too often grieve the loss of precious life taken by those who should not have access to firearms and ammunition.”
Only those aged 21 and older may buy handguns and handgun ammunition under federal law, and only those 18 or older may purchase “long guns” such as rifles or shotguns, as well as accompanying ammunition.
There are exceptions to possessing weapons for those under 18, such as lawful hunting and trapping activities, and those between the ages of 18 and 21 can also possess a handgun that has been gifted to them by a relative.
Kirkland, a freshman incumbent who faces Republican Ruth Moton in the November general election, noted that a photo ID is required to purchase things like alcohol, lottery tickets and even allergy medicine. He said his legislation would serve as a reasonable reform to save lives without infringing on law-abiding citizens’ rights to own and use guns
“Sadly, young people, especially African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans, face significantly higher-than-average risks of being a victim of gun-related homicide,” Kirkland said. “We can – and we must – do everything in our power to curtail this epidemic, and this legislation is just one step of many necessary to take on this issue.”
The state House and Senate saw a flurry of activity on gun control earlier this year, with bipartisan bills put forward by both parties, though little actual movement.
While the Senate approved a package of domestic violence and gun violence-related bills in March – including two offered by local state Sens. Tom Killion, R-9 of Middletown, and Tom McGarrigle, R-26 of Springfield – only one allowing judges to use a “pretrial risk assessment tool” when setting bail in domestic violence cases was passed by the House and signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf.
Stephen Miskin, a spokesman for House Republican leadership, did not respond to requests for comment.
“It’s kind of mind-boggling why they’re not moving them in the House,” said McGarrigle. He is the prime sponsor on Senate Bill 502, which would extend any existing protection from abuse order by 90 days after the defendant has been released from incarceration.
“It’s not the Second (Amendment) – it’s got nothing to do with taking guns away from anybody at all, it’s about protecting the victims of domestic violence,” said McGarrigle. “I’m kind of puzzled why they wouldn’t move that.”
McGarrigle said he has spoken with Killion, whose own bill, SB 501, would require individuals subject to a protection from abuse order to surrender all firearms in their possession to a law enforcement agency, federally licensed firearms dealer or their lawyer within 48 hours. Both bills passed unanimously in the Senate in March and were referred to the House Judiciary Committee, where they have remained.
If the House fails to act on those bills before the end of the 2017-18 session, McGarrigle said he and Killion have agreed to reintroduce them next year. While Killion is not up for re-election this year, McGarrigle is facing a challenge from Democratic Swarthmore Mayor Tim Kearney in November.
“There’s not a lot of pressure I can do (on the House),” said McGarrigle. “The only thing I can do is talk to all the House members I know. It’s more of a leadership thing.”
Killion said Friday that there does at least appear to be interest in moving a bill similar to his own offered by state Rep. Marguerite Quinn, R-143 of Doylestown. If Quinn’s bill comes to the Senate, Killion said his would be dead, but he expects the new version could easily be passed on a concurrence vote and sent on to the governor.
“I don’t care whose (bill) it is, I just want to see it made into law,” said Killion.
While there has been some pushback from a firearm owners association on Quinn’s version of the bill, Killion said he believes there is still enough support to get it passed before the end of the session in November.
“When we get back into session (Sept. 24) we do plan on having a meeting about it to see what we can do to push it along,” said McGarrigle. “But the clock’s ticking out on us here.”