People have been shot on college campuses. People have been shot in grade schools, middle schools and high schools. People have been shot in churches. People have been shot in mosques. People have been shot in synagogues. People have been shot in movie theaters. People have been shot at concerts. People have been shot in recreation centers. And people are being gunned down every day on Pennsylvania’s streets.
As a result of some excellent policing, along with a few miracles, no police officers or citizens died in Wednesday’s horrifying confrontation in Philadelphia. I really don’t believe people comprehend how tragic that incident could have been. We are blessed that although a community and a city are traumatized, no lives were lost.
How many more incidents do we need before the message is received that commonsense gun laws, which are widely supported in overwhelming numbers by all political sides, are fundamentally necessary in this state and across this nation?
I support Gov. Tom Wolf and his efforts to address the public health crisis of gun violence we face in communities across the commonwealth. His unilateral efforts are necessary in a state where the legislature has failed to respond to the demands of the millions of people who want smart, thoughtful and commonsense gun laws.
Wolf’s order circumvents the Republican-controlled General Assembly to find ways to reduce gun violence in several ways:
- Convening special council of experts will create identify and define strategies to address gun violence, review current practices and processes around background checks and keeping weapons out of the wrong hands, as well as recommendations to reduce gun violence
- Establishing offices in existing estate agencies to oversee gun violence reduction, as well as sharing data to better assess issues contributing to the epidemic
- Reducing community gun violence through gun buybacks, data sharing, programs to deter gun violence, juvenile justice programs and behavioral intervention and schools
- Proactively addressing mass shooting threats by monitoring likely perpetrators, implementing strategies to handle active shooter situations, joining the nation’s first Gun Violence Research Consortium, and more
The majority leaders in the Pennsylvania House and Senate have a responsibility to move the sensible legislation that I and my colleagues have introduced – which have languished in committee – in order to build off of the Governor’s action today. Anything less disrespects the thousands of lives lost and ignores the devastation that could have happened this past week.
I and members of the Pennsylvania Senate Democrats have a broad platform to address gun violence in the commonwealth. I am proposing universal background checks, mandatory training for those have Concealed Carry Permits, and several other firearms related measures. I also support legislation from my colleagues including Extreme Risk Protection Orders, requiring safe storage of firearms, allowing municipalities to determine whether firearms are permitted in their buildings. You can view our entire platform on guns here.
We have to keep fighting for the safety of our communities. There are no other options.