For eight years, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell has lobbied hard for what he calls “commonsense” handgun laws, says the Philadelphia Inquirer. He wanted to limit sales to individuals to one handgun a month. He wanted owners to report lost or stolen weapons. He wanted to close a loophole in state law that he believes lets criminals use gun permits obtained in other states. Lhe legislature – including some of his allies in the Democratic-controlled House – knocked down the proposals like so many slow-moving clay birds on a skeet-shooting range.
Now Rendell is defending his veto of a bill expanding gun owners’ self-defense rights – but declared his efforts to reduce gun violence through legislation “an abject failure.” “It’s a lost cause in Pennsylvania,” Rendell said. He accused the General Assembly of kowtowing to the National Rifle Association. “The legislature proved consistently in my eight years that they are scared to death to buck the NRA,” he said. “It’s incredibly frustrating, the hold the NRA has over the legislature. It’s embarrassing.” The lame-duck governor spoke even as his Republican successor, Tom Corbett, was signaling he would sign the bill Rendell had just vetoed. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said that NRA members have a right to air their views on legislation, and that lawmakers consider those views just as they do those of other interest groups.