The Pennsylvania legislature doesn't. In almost three decades, the leaders have blocked almost every attempt to put legislation up for a vote. The last time there was a free-standing bill was in 1989.
And why has Pennsylvania's often-dysfunctional legislature not followed the will of the people and banned this cruelty?
It's an easy answer. Politicians are ruled not by the people who elect them but by who spreads money and fear onto their souls. In this case, the NRA executives--not the membership, almost all of whom believe in fair chase hunting, but the executives--don't want to see the end of pigeon shooting. They stupidly and wrongly claim that banning pigeon shooting violates the Second Amendment. They stupidly and wrongly claim that banning pigeon slaughter is a slippery slope to the overthrow of gun rights.
Pennsylvania's part-time legislators who receive full-time pay buy into this because they have been bought by the NRA--and they are afraid if they get even a grade of "B" from the NRA it might affect their chances of re-election.
This legislative session, Sen. Pat Browne (R-Allentown), the Senate's majority whip, sponsored a bill (SB 510) to ban pigeon shoots. He has 22 co-sponsors; among them are Sen. Dominic Pileggi (R-Glen Mills, Pa.), the majority leader; Sen. Jay Costa (D-Pittsburgh), the minority floor leader; and Anthony Williams (D-Philadelphia), the minority caucus chair. Browne also has the support of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the Pennsylvania Council of Churches, the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association, the ASPCA, and the Pennsylvania Federation of Humane Societies.
Even if the Senate passes the bill, the vote in the House will be contentious--its leaders have been the primary blocks to keep the bill from a vote.
If our Jello-spined legislators will look at the will of the people, they will stand up to the NRA executives, vote for Sen. Browne's bill to ban pigeon shoots, and bring Pennsylvania into line with all other states that can make a distinction between Second Amendment rights and animal cruelty.
[Walter Brasch, an award-winning journalist, for more than two decades has been covering the controversy surrounding pigeon shoots. Dr. Brasch is also the author of 18 books; his latest is Fracking Pennsylvania, which explores the financial and political connections between state politicians and the gas and oil industry.]