Guns & Safety

The issue of gun violence and safety is complicated and needs a multi-pronged set of solutions requiring bi-partisanship. All parties must come to the table with an open mind. Doing nothing because it’s complicated, or you’re adverse to one element of the package of solutions can no longer be our answer. We must compromise and act on many fronts to make a difference and begin to turn this crisis around. There are no easy solutions, but the tide is turning in favor of addressing the issue.

We need:

Penalties and Prevention

  • Provide stronger protections to the public from people that have committed violent crimes.
  • Enforce stronger sentencing guidelines for people that are unlawfully carrying firearms.
  • Look at the disqualifying criminal convictions that prevent an individual from possession a firearm and making sure that list is comprehensive and complete.
  • Implement universal background checks for all firearms, regardless of length of barrel.

Mental Health and Community Connections

  • Support the implementation of court ordered public protection orders if a person is demonstrating dangerous mental health characteristics.
    → Known as Extreme Risk Protection, such an order would temporarily suspend an individual’s access to firearms if there is documented evidence that a person is threatening to harm themselves or others. The person subject to that order must surrender their guns to police and will not be able to buy, sell, or possess other firearms with a judge determining the time frame of this suspension not to exceed one year.
  • Provide in-school counseling and mental health services to students and create early intervention opportunities.
    → Placing skilled, trained mental health counselors in schools to identify children facing problems and acting to treat them, could be the difference in preventing violent situations later.
  • Stop paying lip service to the issues surrounding mental health but rather begin investing in solutions.

School and Community Safety Programs

  • Continue investing in security.
    → The General Assembly adopted Act 44 in June of 2018 which provided $60 million to schools as grants to invest in school infrastructure and mental health professionals to improve safety and security. This investment is being driven by the School Safety and Security Committee, which is also charged with providing schools guidance on best practices for using school safety assessments and certifying vendors for schools to use to conduct the assessments.
    → Included in the Act was a dedicated funding stream to provide new money to municipalities, universities, and community organizations that are developing research and data driven programs that prevent community violence. Intervention on the ground will go a long way to reducing gun violence.

Firearm Restrictions

  • Prohibit the ownership of assault weapons, such as the AR-15, and high capacity ammunition feeding devices and other accessories.

Responsible Investments by Pennsylvania Retirement Funds

  • End the funding stream from the taxpayers of Pennsylvania and employee contributions for retirement that flows to manufacturers of assault weapons, large capacity ammunition clips, or gun accessories that may end up being used to kill school children, teachers, or anyone else.

Our Members at Work

Senator Hughes Applauds Gun Violence Task Force Indictments

HARRISBURG -March 7, 2019 - Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) issued the following statement after Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross announced indictments in...

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State Senate Hearing in Philly Focuses on Gun Violence

PHILADELPHIA – February 14, 2019 – At the request of state Senator Arthur Haywood (D-Philadelphia), the state Senate Democratic Policy Committee today held a hearing on ways to prevent gun violence in Pennsylvania. “This policy hearing is to share proven solutions to...

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Sen. Fontana Renews “Extreme Risk” Gun Suspension Effort

PITTSBURGH - February 14, 2019 – On the one-year anniversary of the Parkland mass shooting tragedy, state Sen. Wayne D. Fontana (D-Allegheny) today reintroduced legislation that would empower families and police officers to petition a court to temporarily remove...

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