HARRISBURG, Pa. (Erie News Now) – Wednesday marks the third-year anniversary of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, which killed eleven and injured six more.
Since then, roughly 4,600 Pennsylvanians have been killed with firearms.
Tuesday, gun safety advocates alongside Governor Tom Wolf and Senate Democrats addressed the need for common sense gun legislation, especially as it spikes across the Commonwealth.
Advocates say there was a 27-percent increase in homicides statewide in 2020.
“In every corner of this state, everyone is impacted by gun violence,” said Adam Garber, Executive Director of CeaseFirePA.
“We cannot standby and do nothing while the threat of gun violence follows children to our schools. We cannot stand by and do nothing while the threat of gun violence follows workers to their jobs, worshipers to their sacred spaces,” said Gov. Wolf.
Advocates at today’s press conference also addressed recent Republican legislation in the Senate that they say could be detrimental.
Senate bills 448 and 565 are the bills that gun safety advocates and Senate Democrats say would harm Pennsylvania.
“We’re going to need everyone to solve this crisis, but unfortunately the Senate majority continues to prioritize legislation to make our communities less safe. We’re here because they’re considering a deadly duo of bills moving in Harrisburg,” said Garber.
According to a media release, SB 448 would allow anyone to sue a municipality for enacting gun safety policies.
According to the same release, SB 565 would allow anyone over 18 to carry a loaded, concealed firearm in public without a permit.
“I again call upon the General Assembly to pass common sense gun safety legislation so that all Pennsylvanians are free to live their lives without fear,” said Gov. Wolf.
Republicans recognize the increase in gun violence but disagree with the Governor on how to approach the matter.
“Very few gun crimes are committed with people who are legal gun owners using guns legally,” said House Republican Caucus spokesperson Jason Gottesman. “People that are Democrat prosecutors like in Philadelphia should be enforcing the laws that are currently on the books rather than trying to take Pennsylvanians constitutional rights away,” Gottesman added.
When asked if he would veto the Senate bills if they did pass and land on his desk, the Governor replied “yes.”