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Common Sense Gun Reform

Stop Illegal Guns

A good day to you,

President Obama speaks on the additional steps he's taking to reduce gun violence and make our communities safer :: January 5, 2016.

The President Announces Commonsense Steps to Keep Guns Out of the Wrong Hands

President Barack Obama did a very courageous thing when he passionately announced executive actions to stem the tide of unnecessary gun violence in America.

The changes he is directing are very similar to the bills I have proposed in Harrisburg, and similar to the proposals other state lawmakers have introduced.

The president’s orders:

  • Require background checks for people trying to buy some of the most dangerous weapons and other items through a trust, corporation, or other legal entity.

  • Ensure that dealers who ship firearms notify law enforcement if their guns are lost or stolen in transit.

  • Groceries for Guns Exchange

    Adding $500 million for increased access to mental health care and removing unnecessary legal barriers preventing states from reporting relevant information about people prohibited from possessing a gun for specific mental health reasons.

  • Request an additional 200 Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents to investigate and monitor dealers. And,

  • Direct the Department of Defense to develop gun safety technology.

None of the president’s proposals remotely seek to remove the guns that law-abiding citizens already own or are rushing to buy because they incorrectly believe they will be taken away.

That’s been the same thing with the proposals I’ve made:

  • Senate Bill 1049 would add universal background checks and 48-hour checks for gun shows.

  • Senate Bill 309 would impose strict civil and criminal liability on any person, licensed importer, licensed dealer or licensed manufacturer who knowingly and intentionally sells, delivers or transfers a firearm in violation of the UFA if that gun is subsequently used in a crime or attempted crime.

  • Senate Bill 311 would require an individual to complete a firearms safety or training course as a condition of being issued a Concealed Carry Permit. And,

  • Senate Bill 312 would expand the list of criminal convictions that disqualify a person from possessing, using, manufacturing, controlling, selling or transferring a firearm.

I say the president was being courageous because he acted in the face of insurmountable Congressional opposition. He took his constitutionally protected action of executive order because, for seven years AND after each mass murder, Congress failed to act.

In Philly, there is one shooting every six hours.

Things have to change in America. This is a good way to begin that improvement. Most people, according to public opinion polls, support what I am proposing and the president is doing.

  • Dec. 23 Quinnipiac University poll found “voters support 89 - 9 percent, including 84 - 14 percent among voters in households where there are guns, requiring background checks on gun purchases at gun shows or online.”
    Gun Violence Archive 2016 Gun Violence 2015 Gun Violence Archive 2016 Gun Violence Archive 2016
    Gun violence  and crime incidents are collected/validated from 1,500 sources daily – incidents and their source data are found at the website.
    1: Actual number of deaths and injuries
    2: Number of INCIDENTS reported and verified
    Numbers on this table reflect a subset of all information collected and will not add to 100% of incidents.  |
    Data Validated: January 06, 2016

  • That same survey also found that “voters also support 58 - 38 percent a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons.” And,

  • Dec. 21 CNN/ORC poll found that an increasing number of Americans favor stricter gun control laws.

The non-profit Gun Violence Archive counted a daily average of 36 gun deaths and 73 gun injuries in America, while reported that the General Assembly produced 54 proposals for gun reform in PA. You guessed it: not one of them came close to adoption.

Let’s face it, many Americans are afraid to go out of their homes because they don’t want to be the victim in another mass shooting. I urge you to call your state and federal lawmakers to support the president's action and urge the adoption of new Pennsylvania laws that will better protect us from gun violence.


Sen. Vincent Hughes
Senate Appropriations Committee Democratic Chairman

Learn more about the issues and provide your feedback on my website at as well as on Facebook and Twitter (@SenatorHughes).

Offices of State Senator Vincent Hughes

4950 Parkside Avenue | Suite 300
Philadelphia, PA 19131
Phone: 215.879.7777
Fax: 215.879.7778
Senate Box 203007
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3007
Phone: 717.787.7112
Fax: 717.772.0579