by Damon Boughamer
Public Radio Capitol News, serving Pennsylvania
Harrisburg, Penna. (PRCN, 14 April 2007) – Something unusual happened at the Capitol this past week.
A piece of legislation that was quietly introduced weeks ago, and that has almost no chance of passing, suddenly received an enormous amount of attention.
When the subject is handguns, Harrisburg is prone to explosive debate.
The bill’s sponsor didn’t even issue a press release when he submitted the bill, and he only secured five co-sponsors in the 203-member House.
Plus, it contains an idea that has never gained traction. The bill would require that legal gun owners re-register each piece yearly at $10 per gun.
But House Republicans and a few Democrats launched a public relations assault on the legislation, and by the late in the week, headlines on it and editorials against it had spread the word about it to places as far away as Texas.
"It doesn’t feel as if it were productive – the fuss that was made of it at this stage," says gun control advocate Shelly Yanoff with Philadelphia Citizens for Children and Youth.
Two co-sponsors of the legislation have since withdrawn their support.
The bill’s sponsor said he will press on.