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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 30, 2019 10:02 AM
From: Representative Eric R. Nelson
To: All House members
Subject: Firearms Legislation
In the near future I will be introducing common-sense firearms legislation to bring Pennsylvania into conformity with federal law on similar subjects.

HB302 will create a process for citizens who needed temporary mental health treatment to restore their second amendment rights after demonstrating they are not a threat to themselves, or others, before a judge through an FBI-approved process.

HB303 inserts federal firearm guidelines to replace our currently complicated laws for transporting a firearm. My goal is to enhance police officer safety during vehicle stops and enable law abiding citizens to more easily comply with transportation laws.

This is a combined effort to reach agreement from multiple parties across the second amendment spectrum and I hope you will join me in sponsoring both bills.

Document #1

Description: HB302 Restoration of Rights
Depression, post-traumatic stress, anxiety and other mental health issues are recoverable conditions and should not require a lifetime ban of second amendment rights.  Currently, Pennsylvania citizens who receive a “302” mental health evaluation lose their ability to own a firearm for the rest of their life.
This practice is not federally compliant and creates a treatment roadblock for veterans and others who may benefit from counseling but are afraid to permanently lose their firearms.  At times, individuals can experience acute, short-term, situational struggles like PTS or depression which can be successfully treated; however, the lifetime ban prevents a person from hunting, or even owning a gun, decades later.
Currently, the accused have no opportunity to defend themselves before a judge or other entity; even in the event they were wrongly accused, or completely cleared, with no recommendation for mandatory mental health treatment, they receive a lifetime ban.
This legislation creates a formal process where, after two years, those disqualified from possessing firearms due to a 302 evaluation may apply for judicial review to have their firearms rights restored. Key parties are notified, and a hearing takes place where a judge must find a preponderance of evidence that the person no longer presents a threat to themselves or others.  This is a formalized process with a recognized high standard in order to be conscientious and deliberative before restoring this important constitutional right.

Document #2

Introduced as HB303

Description: HB303 Transportation of Firearms in Motor Vehicles
The second bill will simplify the law concerning the transportation of firearms in Pennsylvania IN MOTOR VEHICLES with a concept that would be consistent with restrictions in federal law, as well as with the laws of states as varied as Vermont, Iowa and Michigan.
This legislation will replace our current complicated law with a straightforward rule: A lawful gun owner may transport a firearm in a motor vehicle for a lawful purpose, as long as it is unloaded and not directly accessible to an occupant in the vehicle.
Current state law is confusing and unnecessarily complex. An otherwise law-abiding gun owner can inadvertently commit a crime if, for example, the gun owner without a license to carry a concealed firearm, simply stops at the grocery store on the way home from target shooting at a range. 
I hope you will join me in simplifying current Pennsylvania law in a responsible way that assures the safety of our officers and the public.
These two provisions will improve our firearms background check system in Pennsylvania and bring Pennsylvania into compliance with the federal NICS Improvement Amendments Act making us eligible for federal grants as provided for in the Act.