|Posted:||January 29, 2019 10:05 AM|
|From:||Representative Mary Jo Daley|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Prohibiting Firearms at Polling Places|
|Due to how contentious the 2016 Presidential Election Day was gearing up to be, the Pennsylvania Department of State issued a memo to county election offices which listed the “ostentatious showing of weapons” as a form of voter intimidation or discriminatory conduct. Unfortunately, our state laws do not reflect the concern of the Department of State, and can even be interpreted as counterproductive to voter safety.
Currently, voters can bring a handgun or rifle along to vote, but law enforcement officers must stay at least 100 feet from the polling booth. Firearms are only prohibited in polling places if the location otherwise prohibits guns such as at schools or courthouses. I believe it is time to extend the prohibition to all areas of a polling place holding an election.
Specifically, my legislation would make it a misdemeanor of the third degree for knowingly possessing a firearm in a polling place, and a misdemeanor of the first degree for using the firearm at a polling place in a commission of a crime. Notice of the firearm prohibition would be required to be placed at each public entrance.
Guns have no place in a voting booth and will only further increase tensions between political sides. Nobody should feel uncomfortable or intimidated during the electoral process. Please join me in protecting our democracy and our voters from intimidation.
Introduced as HB1725