The scene after Wednesday’s House State Government Committee meeting that gutted a widely popular gerrymandering reform bill was chaotic, to say the least. Representative Daryl Metcalfe called Wednesday’s meeting just before the close of session on Tuesday, which violated the House’s own rules in relation to the 24-hour notification needed for committee hearings.
As the hearing ended, the people who were able to fit in the very cramped Ryan Office Building hearing room yelled “shame” at the Republicans for gutting their bill in a sham of a vote, and a confrontation between Chairman Daryl Metcalfe and Representative Chris Rabb occurred.
According to Representative Rabb, Rabb approached Chairman Matt Bradford and congratulated him for speaking out against the amendment to gut the citizen’s commission and to replace it with a majority controlled legislative commission. Metcalfe overheard what Rabb said, and Rabb told Metcalfe “even for you, this is a new low.” The two continue to change words and at one point Rabb says to Metcalfe “I’m not going to say anything behind your back, that I wouldn’t say to your face.” Metcalfe ends it the conversation saying, “we’d have a very different conversation on the streets.”
Rabb then storms out of the hearing room and told March on Harrisburg members, who witnessed the confrontation from afar, what just happened between the two. He also retold his story a news anchor from CBS 21. Rabb is seen asking if Metcalfe’s threat is in relation to the fact that Metcalfe is known for carrying a firearm in the Capitol. Rabb pulled Metcalfe into the conversation with the news anchor and Metcalfe began talking about what happened to the gerrymandering bill.
At the end of the interview, Metcalfe said “when he comes up to me at the front of the desk, and makes some comments that were very disrespectful, and uses some language that most people would consider vulgar and profane, I don’t think he would be doing that on the street to somebody where other people are hearing him.”
In a phone conversation with Representative Rabb, Rabb brought up the issue that it is completely ok for someone like Daryl Metcalfe or Nick Miccarelli to be carrying a gun in the Capitol and on the House floor. Rabb said that even in Washington, DC, Senators and Representatives have to go through a metal detector and are not allowed to carry in the US Capitol.
Earlier this year, The Caucus reported that at least a dozen members and staffers carry in the Pennsylvania Capitol. Metcalfe told reporters that he believed that carrying a gun is a crime deterrent, but never reveals if he is carrying a gun because of safety issues. Metcalfe agrees “that members of the public cannot carry a weapon in the Capitol. But he said he does not believe that applies to the Legislature, a separate branch of government. “I think separation of powers changes the issue for the Legislature.”