A new bill will require Pennsylvania felons who choose to illegally possess a gun to face an automatic five-year sentence without probation.
The bill cruised through the House with a landslide 190-7 vote. House Bill 2331, which you can read in its entirety here, was sponsored by state Rep. Todd Stephens of Horsham. Stephens, who formerly served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney, promoted the bill because he found Pennsylvania’s laws to be inadequate.
This is really a tough bill that will be hard on offenders. The bill defines the crime as a “crime of violence,” which means that it will trigger Pennsylvania’s three strikes law. Strike one will get you five years, strike two will earn you 10 years, and the third strike will put you behind bars for 25 years. Just to put that into perspective, other “crimes of violence” in the state of Pennsylvania include rape, voluntary manslaughter, arson, incest, and kidnapping.
Of course, the bill still has a long way to go before gun-toting felons will really have to start watching their backs. It will also need to be affirmed by the Senate, and then it will not go into effect for 60 days.