Editorial: Pennsylvania annual gun registry bill overreaches
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, just like we learned in elementary school science class.
We have to react. Don’t react to a fire, and you get burned. Don’t react to a traffic light, and you can cause a crash.
But overreaction is as bad as no reaction at all.
Welcome to the proposed gun registry bill in Harrisburg.
With gun-related crimes happening far too often and mass shootings like the Tree of Life attack in Squirrel Hill mushrooming across the country, it is natural that we want to do something to fix it, to make our world a little safer than it is today.
Many people looking for tougher gun control have been frustrated with the lack of progress — or even conversation — about solutions that follows each Parkland, each Pittsburgh, each Thousand Oaks.
But there are always people willing to bring way too much to the table. This time, it’s state Rep. Angel Cruz D-Philadelphia. The bill requesting an annual registry of guns with a $10-per-weapon fee is exactly the kind of thing that makes Second Amendment defenders dig in their heels and say, “See? We told you!”
In Cruz’s defense, we register a lot of things every year. Our cars. Our dogs. We re-up our driver’s licenses and hunting licenses. Why wouldn’t a gun — something small, deadly, easily transportable and transferable — be subject to the same kind of regulation?
Maybe it seems logical. But logic should tell Cruz that this isn’t like haggling over the price of a new car. In a sale, you can ask for more than you expect and negotiate down to a fair outcome because the guy on the other side of the table wants to buy as much as you want to sell.
With gun laws, that’s not the case. There is nothing Cruz is selling that Pennsylvania gun owners want to buy, and both the state and federal constitutions are on their side.
“This is more than just a list,” said Rep. Eric Nelson, R-Hempfield.
And he’s right. It’s a hand grenade thrown into the already volatile issue of gun laws. In one spectacular overreach, Cruz seems to have given his opponents all the ammunition they need to kill his bill with an equal and opposite reaction.