2012-05-31 / Local & State

House OKs Mandatory Prison For Felons With Guns

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – A bill to require mandatory prison terms for felons caught with guns is on its way to the Pennsylvania Senate after winning lopsided approval in the House.

The House gave the bill its final approval by a vote of 190 to 7.

The legislation would set a minimum five-year prison term for felons caught possessing firearms and impose stiffer terms of up to 25 years for repeat violent offenders under the state’s “ three strikes’’ law. There is currently no mandatory minimum sentence.

Opponents of the bill sponsored by Rep. Todd Stephens, a Montgomery County Republican, argue that mandatory sentences take away judges’ discretion in sentencing and exacerbate prison crowding.

Proponents say the bill would help reduce illegal gun sales and prevent gun violence.

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