Session: 2023-2024

ACLU-PA Position: Opposes

HB 1859 (PN 2337) would add numerous offenses to the list of convictions that prohibit gun possession under 18 § 6105–Persons not to possess, use, manufacture, control, sell or transfer firearms.

The ACLU-PA opposes HB 1859 for the following reasons:

  • HB 1859 would not only add numerous offenses to the gun prohibition list, but it would cast the net even wider by including the inchoate offenses for each current (and newly proposed) enumerated offense on the list (i.e., including convictions for an “attempt, solicitation or conspiracy to commit” one of the enumerated offenses).
    • Adding offenses to this list expands the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction, and will almost certainly be disproportionately imposed, since the criminal legal system will continue to arrest, charge, prosecute, and convict Black and Brown people more frequently for any and all of the offenses listed. HB 1859 would just ensure that more people of color are prohibited from legally possessing a firearm. 
  • Offenses added under HB 1859 do not require that a firearm was used in the commission of a crime. In other words, the added offenses are not cabined by “..., if the [conduct/threat] involved the use of a firearm,” which would at least attempt to tether the gun prohibition to those who used a firearm as part of a criminal act.
  • Some of the offenses added under HB 1859 are not even considered “crimes of violence” as defined under 42 § 9714 (g)
  • HB 1859 would add a second-degree misdemeanor simple assault conviction to the list, which is far beyond the traditional scope of prohibiting possession for felony convictions.
    • Given the sheer volume of simple assault convictions, a huge number of people would be prohibited from owning a firearm. It would also drastically reduce the likelihood that people plead to this charge, since a conviction would prohibit their ability to own a gun. 
    • If adding a M2 simple assault conviction to § 6105 is intended to address domestic violence cases, it is unnecessary, since § 6105 already references current prohibitions on gun possession for those with protection from abuse orders against them. 

Check the bill's status here.


Representative Tim Briggs



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