HARRISBURG, PA – September 25, 2018 – Moved by the tragic death of Bianca Nikol Roberson, Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) and Representative Carolyn Comitta (D-Chester) called for a ban of firearms in vehicles as a means of preventing future deaths in road rage shootings.
Bianca was fatally shot during a road rage incident June 28, 2017. Her killer had a loaded gun sitting next to him in his vehicle before firing the fatal shot that killed Bianca. She was just 18 years old and had recently graduated from Bayard Rustin High School in West Chester. Bianca was to attend Jacksonville University on a merit-based scholarship. Her promising life, cut short by David Desper’s evil actions, have moved Hughes and Comitta to propose commonsense legislation to spare another family from losing a loved one as the Robersons did.
Michelle Roberson, Bianca’s mother, said her daughter would still be alive if a reasonable ban had been in place, prohibiting her daughter’s killer from having a loaded gun so readily accessible. She made her passionate plea Tuesday afternoon at the Pennsylvania Capitol.
“This was unnecessary, this did not have to happen,” Roberson said of her daughter’s death. “There’s no justice, there’s no sentencing that is going to heal my heart. I will never see this beautiful girl again.”
Both Hughes (Senate Bill 1264) and Comitta (House Bill 2669) have proposed legislation in their respective chambers. Senate Bill 1264 from Senator Hughes would amend Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes to include weapons of all barrel lengths and makes a first offense a third-degree misdemeanor and a second or subsequent offense a misdemeanor of the first-degree. A prison sentence up to a year and fine of $2,500 would be the punishment for first time offenders under the new law. Subsequent offenses would bring a prison sentence up to five years and a $10,000 fine.
“Bianca’s life meant something,” Senator Hughes said. “We’re here to stand with this family. [SB 1264] is not complicated, it is simple and it is something that Bianca deserves to have and it is something this family deserves to have.”
A foundation has been created in Bianca’s honor, which has worked to fundraise for a scholarship in Bianca’s name at Jacksonville University. Michelle Robertson has worked tirelessly, advocating on behalf of her daughter and commonsense gun legislation.
“This beautiful life, so full of potential, was cut short by an act of road rage,” Comitta said, pledging support to get the legislation passed. “Our community wept and is still weeping with Bianca’s family.”