Philadelphia, PA – July 21, 2023 – Senator Hughes was joined by Senators Jimmy Dillon, Art Haywood, Tim Kearney, the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, and community leaders to call attention to two commonsense gun bills that are one step away from being signed into law by Governor Shapiro.

House Bills 1018 and 714 would establish red flag laws and universal background checks in Pennsylvania. Senator Hughes stressed the need for these commonsense gun laws and how a comprehensive approach can help in the overall fight to end gun violence.

“Nearly sixty days ago, the House of Representatives passed red flag laws and universal background checks in a bipartisan vote. Now, our Senators want a vote,” Senator Hughes said. “The last time we were here at Mander Playground we announced $150 million dollars for neighborhood-based violence prevention organizations. Those grassroots investments are making a difference, but we also need these laws that will help law enforcement and communities stop the shootings, stop the violence, and stop the fear that too many are feeling.”

All the Senators called for movement of the commonsense House bills and pieces of Senate legislation including Senate Bill 49 to address ghost guns and Senate Bill 695 to address straw purchasing.  

Senate Democrats have repeatedly said they are ready to vote on House bills 1018 and 714. Governor Shapiro has said he will sign the bills if they come to his desk. Senate Republicans, who are in the majority and control the Senate calendar, can bring these bills up for a vote and join in the fight to end gun violence.

“If you back our law enforcement, you should back these bills,” said Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner. “If we do not want more tragedies with victims and law enforcement, then we need to back these bills. Our brothers and sisters in the Republican and Democratic parties need to come together in a bipartisan fashion to get these laws passed.”

Both red flag laws and universal background checks have overwhelming support from most Americans. A Fox poll found 80% of Americans support red flag laws and 87% of Americans support background checks.

Mayor Jim Kenney added, “Every time someone in Pennsylvania is killed by a gun, it is both a preventable tragedy and a policy failure,” he said. “Studies show that common-sense gun laws reduce suicide and homicide rates in other states, and there is simply no acceptable justification for Pennsylvania lawmakers to deny their constituents the same benefit. These laws have overwhelming approval across the country; the people we have pledged to serve as elected officials are asking us to save lives and protect communities. I am grateful to Senator Hughes for championing the legislation passed by state representatives, and for standing with us to address the increasing threat presented by ghost guns – and I hope that all state officials will join him to do what is right.”

Deputy Attorney General James Donahue also spoke at the press conference to support movement of the legislation, “The Office of the Attorney General fully supports the passage of these two bills that will save lives in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania.”

Other speakers included Christopher Johnson, Regional Representative for Senator Bob Casey’s Office; Brandon Flood, Deputy Director of Government Affairs for Ceasefire PA; Tonnetta Graham, President and Executive Director of Strawberry Mansion CDC; Reuben Jones, Executive Director of Frontline Dads; and Greg Holsten, Elder of the United Methodist Church and Senior Advisor on Policy and Advocacy for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.

A full video of the press conference is available online.