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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: May 19, 2021 09:49 AM
From: Representative Johnathan D. Hershey
To: All House members
Subject: Preventing Convicted Felons from Obtaining Illegal Firearms
I will be introducing legislation, supported by the District Attorneys Association, designed to close a significant loophole that allows some convicted felons to illegally carry firearms with impunity. 

Under current law, someone who has been convicted of a serious crime is statutorily barred from possessing a firearm. But someone who is convicted of attempting, conspiring or soliciting another to commit those very same crimes is not subject to any penalty under state law. As a result, someone who is convicted of murder, rape, or burglary can be prosecuted for carrying a firearm, but someone convicted of attempted rape, conspiracy to commit murder, or solicitation to commit robbery cannot. That makes no sense. It is worth noting that an attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy to commit any of these offenses carries the same penalty as committing the crime itself, and the General Assembly in the past has recognized the significant of these crimes when it included penalties for selling firearms to individuals whom the seller knows will use the firearm to commit or attempt to commit a crime.

As shocking as this problem is, my legislative fix is straightforward and simple, and will not affect any rights of any law-abiding individual to possess a firearm. My bill proposes simply to add attempt, conspiracy to commit and solicitation to commit to the very same list of serious crimes that already prohibit a person from possessing a firearm under state law. By doing so, my bill will only subject to criminal penalty those who have a conviction for a serious crime and who subsequently chooses to illegally carry a firearm. Closing this loophole is reasonable, straightforward, and necessary to hold those who illegally carry a firearm because of a prior conviction accountable. 

Please join me in co-sponsoring this simple yet critical fix to our law. 

Introduced as HB1564