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Permitless Concealed Carry Of Guns Is Being Considered In The Legislature

guns_gun_shop_rifle.jpg
Elaine Thompson
/
AP
The state legislature is considering a bill that would make it legal to carry a concealed gun without a permit. Open carry of a firearm is legal in Pennsylvania.

On today’s program: State Representative Aaron Bernstine explains the merits of a bill he introduced to make it legal to carry a concealed, legally owned firearm without a permit; CeaseFirePA argues such a policy would make the state less safe; an opera singer-turned-administrator introduces an organization to support local arts administrators of color; and a look at why the statues on one side of the Sixteenth Street Bridge’s have a patina when the other side does not.

Rep. Aaron Bernstine says permits for carrying a concealed gun is a burden
(0:00 — 8:15)

The House Judiciary Committee approved legislation that would no longer require citizens to obtain a government issued license if they want to carry a concealed, legally obtained, loaded firearm. One Republican legislator joined all Democrats in voting “no.”

The sponsor of the bill, State Representative Aaron Bernstine (R-Beaver County), says requiring a citizen to get a concealed weapon permit is a burden.

“It can be a very political process in some situations,” says Bernstine. “An example is the sheriff actually can decline for any reason a person who is law abiding to receive a firearms permit.”

Bernstine adds the process is duplicative because gun owners have to go through a background check to purchase a gun, and another for the permit. He also says expiration of permits creates a burden because there’s no process for notifying someone their permit has expired.

Josh Fleitman, Western Pennsylvania manager from CeaseFirePA, says that although Pennsylvanians have a constitutional right to acquire and carry a firearm, “every constitutional right is subject to regulation.”

“What’s at stake is a Pennsylvania that is less safe, communities that are less safe,” says Fleitman. “It’s important that we send a message by defeating this bill in the House to show that this is not popular.”

Pittsburgh-based group seeks to support artists and arts administrators of color
(8:20 — 13:04)

White actors received nearly 62% of all available roles on Broadway during the 2017-2018 season, according to a report from the Asian American Performers Action Coalition.

A local organization, Pittsburgh Arts Administrators of Color (PAAC), is looking to connect and elevate artists of color in our community. Founding members of PAAC are from the Pittsburgh Opera, City Theatre, Carnegie Mellon University’s Computer Science Pathways and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

“In the two and a half years since I’ve been back in Pittsburgh, it has been a challenge for me to find others that share my ethnicity and racial background,” says Rebekah Diaz, a founding member of PAAC and Pittsburgh Opera’s Manager of Community Engagement. “Having this group where we can kind of get together, be our authentic selves, talk to each other in ways that feel good for us to talk to each other is really a balm for the soul.”

Diaz says the group is looking forward to supporting personal and professional growth for members.

“I hope that in the next five years we do see a more balancing effect of those that are in positions of visible power and performance ability here in Pittsburgh,” says Diaz. “I am hopeful that in five years, maybe 10 years at the max, we will see a more balanced perspective of all people at top positions.”

Why does only one side of the Sixteenth Street Bridge statues have a patina?
(13:10 — 18:00)

Massive stone pillars flank the entrances to Pittsburgh’s yellow Sixteenth Street Bridge. They’re topped with bronze winged horses majestically raising their hooves to the sky, and seemingly protecting the embellished globes behind them.

As 90.5 WESA’s Katie Blackley reports for our Good Question series, there’s a history behind the globes.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Kevin Gavin is the host of WESA's news interview program "The Confluence." He is a native Pittsburgher and served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years. Since the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc. (now Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp.), he served as Executive Producer of Special News Projects prior to being named as host of "The Confluence" five years ago. kgavin@wesa.fm
Marylee is the editor/producer of The Confluence, the daily public affairs show on WESA. She got her start in journalism at The Daily Reveille and KLSU while attending Louisiana State University. She took her passion for audio journalism to UC Berkeley's graduate program and worked in public radio at WPR in Madison, WI, and WOSU in Columbus, Ohio.
Laura Tsutsui is a producer for The Confluence, WESA's morning news show. Previously, she reported on the San Joaquin Valley with the NPR affiliate station in her hometown of Fresno, California. She can be reached at ltsutsui@wesa.fm.
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