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Local reaction|Sides split on new concealed carry bill

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Republicans passed a bill through the House Wednesday that could make it easier for gun owners with conceal carry permits to travely freely between states.

It passed 231-198 along party lines.

In Central Pa, the feelings are mixed on the issue.

“As a mother, as a grandmother, as a citizen, any kind of law that weakens existing gun laws to me is going in the exact wrong direction,” Deb Marteslo with Moms Demand Action said.

Marteslo works to strengthen gun laws. She says the news that the House passed the conceal carry reciprocity bill is not ideal.

“My main concern is that it takes us to the lowest common denominator. It is designed to gut the state laws of all states that have any kind of permitting and take it down to the level of those states that have none whatsoever,” she said.

But for those on the other side of the issue, like gun shop owner Mike Acri, he says it’s about time.

“If you have a permit to carry in the state, you should be able to carry it like a driver’s license, go from one state to the next state and still be able to carry,” he said.

For a Pennsylvania permit holder, it’s illegal for you to take your gun to Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and New York, more than half of Pa’s bordering states.

Marteslo says it should stay that way.

“We have a very diverse country there are many different types of environments and this is something that states should have the right to decide what works for their population. It is a state’s rights issue really,” she said.

And while Acri would like to see the bill passed and signed by President Donald Trump, he says there’s work to be done on the permitting system itself.

“It’s broken. It has some problems and there’s certain entities that don’t want to put information in because it’s medical information,” Acri said.

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

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