GOP lawmakers block assault-style gun ban on under 21s

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — State House Republicans on Tuesday blocked a proposal to prevent those ages 18 to 21 from owning assault rifles by completely turning the law into a constitutional amendment allowing anyone to carry concealed weapons .

It was the second straight week that Republicans used their majority on the Judiciary Committee to defeat Democrat proposals to end gun violence in the country.

The law would have barred anyone under the age of 21 from buying, owning, or transporting guns, which were often used to kill and wound people in the mass shootings that have become an epidemic in the United States.

The so-called “constitutional carry” has broad support among Legislative Republicans, but a bill allowing it was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf in December.

Rep. Joe Hohenstein, D-Philadelphia, called the unrestricted right to bear arms a myth that leads to the kind of violence seen in the Wild West.

“We can say anything we want about how guns make some people safer, they make a whole lot of other people less safe, too,” he said during the brief Capitol hearing. There is violence with legally purchased weapons, he noted. “It’s the legal purchases of firearms that become the mass shootings that we see.”

The vote went almost along party line, with only one Republican — from the Philadelphia suburbs — crossing the lines to vote against.

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