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.
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.
- 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
HARRISBURG - July 10, 2019 - State Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) announced plans to introduce legislation that would repeal the recently granted concurrent jurisdiction given to the Pennsylvania Attorney General in gun-related crimes, such as...read more
HARRISBURG - June 24, 2019 - Members of the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus today jointly sent a letter to Governor Tom Wolf requesting a disaster declaration for gun violence in the Commonwealth. “We believe it is necessary to raise the public’s awareness of...read more
HARRISBURG - June 17, 2019 - Following a senseless act of violence on Father’s Day, and scores of other homicides in the city of Philadelphia and across the state, Senator Anthony H. Williams sent a letter to Governor Tom Wolf asking for a state of emergency on the...read more
HARRISBURG - June 4, 2019 - On Wednesday at 9:30pm on the Lieutenant Governor’s balcony, members of the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus will outline various policy on gun reform in the commonwealth in an effort to provide substantive reform that addresses the...read more
SQUIRREL HILL - May 9, 2019 - Members of the Pennsylvania House and Senate stood together today outside the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh to announce plans for legislation that will address hate crimes.“Hate crimes are on...read more
PHILADELPHIA - April 29, 2019 - Moms Demand Action and CeaseFire PA joined Senator Street, Philadelphia Councilwoman Cindy Bass and Senator Haywood at Temple in leading a community rally to welcome Team 26 to Philadelphia. The Pennsylvania Senate also honored...read more
HARRISBURG – April 25, 2019 – State Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) – a strong advocate for additional mental health funding -- applauded state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s recent call for more mental health resources to prevent gun deaths. “A key...read more
Senator Maria Collett Introduces Legislation to Allow Local Regulation of Firearms on Municipal Properties
NORTH WALES – March 11, 2019 – Keeping a major campaign promise to support common sense gun safety legislation, Senator Maria Collett (D-Bucks/Montgomery) introduced a bill memo for co-sponsorship today which would allow local governments, by ordinance, to restrict...read more