Gun-control advocates were furious, claiming that supporters of the Castle Doctrine extension had unfairly cut off debate on the bill, which would expand Pennsylvania’s law on self-defense.

They were outraged — outraged, mind you — that numerous amendments could not be offered, such as closing the so-called Florida loophole that allows Pennsylvanians to get a license to carry a firearm in another state such as Florida even if they’ve been turned down in a Pennsylvania county.

Never mind that a minority of House Democrats had kept the bill bottled up and had no intention of allowing it to come up for a vote. It had been blocked for years. Last week’s action was the first time “stand your ground” legislation has passed the House.

The bill would give people the right to use lethal force without retreat outside their homes when confronted by an assailant threatening death or serious bodily injury. They already have that right in their homes.

Because it was conveniently buried in the House Appropriations Committee, the kingdom of Chairman Dwight Evans, D-Philadelphia, the bill was just not moving despite having more than 150 co-sponsors, an unusually high number in a chamber where it takes 102 votes to pass a bill.

Several lawmakers supporting the bill filed a discharge resolution that enables a bill locked in a committee to be called to the floor for a vote.

Rather than be defeated on a discharge resolution, House Democrat leaders agreed to schedule a floor vote.

When the bill hit the floor, opponents were ready with numerous amendments. Had they passed, which was doubtful, the legislation would have been a hodgepodge of pro-gun and anti-gun measures.

So Sam Smith, House minority leader, in a parliamentary move that infuriated the bill’s opponents, called to “move the previous question.”

That means the House moves without debate or consideration of amendments to an immediate vote on the bill. Twenty House members had to stand up and be counted.

Smith’s motion was approved 143-56, with three members excused.

Source: Brad Bumsted for the Tribune-Review.

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