HARRISBURG, PA — Governor Tom Wolf and Senator Bob Casey were joined by legislators, representatives of CeaseFire PA, Moms Demand Action, religious leaders, and members of the public yesterday evening to remember the lives lost to gun violence in Pennsylvania and around the nation, and to reiterate their urgent call to federal and state lawmakers for action on legislation for universal background checks and Extreme Risk Protection Orders.
“Today is solemn one as across America, families are burying their loved ones,” Gov. Wolf said. “For those families, parents, children, siblings or spouses will not come home. And there is no undoing what has been done. We must tackle the use of gun violence. We must take guns out of the hands of people who will use them to kill.
“We must prevent people who want to kill from buying guns that are manufactured to allow them to kill at a more rapid pace. We must do everything we can to ensure people are not planning to kill before we sell them guns and we must restrict access to the weapons that are primarily used – time after time – for mass murder.”
Gov. Wolf has consistently urged lawmakers in Pennsylvania and D.C. to pass Extreme Risk Protection Order legislation, and the state’s General Assembly to mandate universal background checks through the Pennsylvania State Police on all firearm purchases. He also called on our partners in the United States Senate to pass House Resolution 8 and close background check loopholes at the federal level.
“These are three concrete, verifiable actions that legislators can take today to reduce the number of graves being dug for gun violence victims,” Gov. Wolf said.
“Far too often we come together to mourn the victims of gun violence and mass shootings in our communities, but enough is enough,” said U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). “We don’t have to live like this. Gun violence is a uniquely American problem and the first step to reducing gun violence is to pass universal background checks, limit the size of magazines and ban military-style assault weapons—among other measures. We must also confront white nationalist ideology and rhetoric that has inspired some of the domestic terrorist attacks that have happened in Pennsylvania and throughout the country. It’s time we hold accountable politicians who refuse to take action to reduce gun violence.”
“Thank you, Governor Wolf, for urging action at the state and federal level to address this uniquely American problem of gun violence,” said Shira Goodman, Executive Director of CeaseFirePA. “There are many policy solutions that would make Pennsylvania safer, and we are pleased that this bipartisan effort to bring Extreme Risk Protection Orders to PA is being highlighted. We need Pennsylvania lawmakers to come together again to take strong, decisive action that will save lives. Pennsylvania voters are watching closely, and they are expecting swift action by the legislature.”
“Gun violence is a multi-layered issue; whether the swift, disorienting blow of a mass shooting or the simmering, persistent public health crisis affecting cities all across this country,” said Julia Mallory, gun violence survivor. “Communities that wake up and never anticipate this magnitude of tragedy are not immune from tragedy. Now is the time for us to wake up and act. It will never be convenient or easy – as we know progress rarely is.”
Sens. Anthony Williams and Tom Killion, and Rep. Todd Stephens joined the governor in support of swift passage of legislation.
“For too long, the violence in our neighborhoods and cities has been growing,” Sen. Williams said. “In Philadelphia, mass shootings which are ignored by the media or belittled as ‘everyday crime’ have become a constant threat to residents gathering at family barbecues, basketball tournaments or church services. One-hundred ninety-three souls have been lost to homicide in the commonwealth’s largest city, with hundreds more injured, because we refuse to directly address the root causes of violence. I hope that the General Assembly can return to session soon to immediately begin working on combating these issues directly.”
“America’s gun violence epidemic claims 100 lives a day,” said Sen. Killion. “Enough is enough. I proudly stand with Governor Wolf and lawmakers from both political parties who are fighting to enact commonsense legislation, such as a red flag law here in Pennsylvania. We need to end gun violence and save lives now.”
“Whether we’re talking about suicides in rural PA, mass shootings at our places of worship or on the streets of our cities, the loss of one innocent life to gun violence is a tragedy we must work to stop it,” Rep. Stephens said. “Doing nothing is NOT an option. Pennsylvania is a diverse state but if President Trump, Nancy Pelosi, Lindsay Graham and Chuck Schumer can all agree Extreme Risk Protection Orders are an important tool against gun violence, we can too. We must enact Extreme Risk Protection Orders in Pennsylvania.”
“I’m not under the impression that legislation is the magic pill that will cure the national health crisis that we face regarding illegal gun violence,” Rep. Harris said. “I do, however, believe that it is our moral duty to do what is in our power to preserve the lives and safety of our constituents using the tools that we have. For this reason, I urge that this body put our people first and return to session to address this plague.”
“In the wake of the senseless shootings in El Paso and Dayton and in recognition of the 100 Americans who die each day from preventable gun violence, the Pennsylvania chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America expects the General Assembly to show bipartisan leadership and immediately pass the pending state Background Checks and ERPO/Red Flag bills,” said Marybeth Christiansen, Chapter Lead of Pennsylvania Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense. “We know that we can reduce gun violence while respecting the rights of responsible gun owners. Our legislators know this as well. We expect our General Assembly to protect the rights of all Pennsylvanians. We deserve no less from those who represent us.”
“The measures we talked about… are not the only ones I would support, but they represent a start,” Gov. Wolf said. “I will continue to work with the General Assembly to advance legislation to reduce community gun violence, including combating lost and stolen guns and straw purchases.
“No one should have to live this way. We must do better; we can do better. It’s time to take back our communities. It’s time to take back our commonwealth. It’s time to take back our values.”
Source: Office of the Governor, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
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