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HARRISBURG, Pa. (Erie News Now) – The group CeaseFirePA was joined by Democratic lawmakers for their “Taking A Stand Against Gun Violence Advocacy Day” on Tuesday.
Some heavy rain during the rally did not deter the advocates, members of the Legislature, and Governor Tom Wolf from sending a clear message to the Republican-majority General Assembly.
“We are crying out. We need help,” said advocate Tina Ford who is the founder of Mothers of Murdered Sons (MOMS). Today marked three years since Ford lost her son to gun violence.
Gun violence continues to impact many parts of the commonwealth and Democratic lawmakers are calling on their colleagues for action.
“The excuses have got to end,” said House Minority Leader Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia/Delaware). “To all of my colleagues across the aisle, I said action has to happen,” she added.
Governor Tom Wolf said he’s ready to sign more legislation to reduce gun violence.
“There has been recently a tragic spike in gun violence,” said Gov. Wolf.
Wolf’s calling on the General Assembly to pass several legislative measures that would:
- Require reporting for lost and stolen guns within 72 hours
- Close loopholes and require background checks on all gun sales
- Require safe storage of firearms to keep guns out of the wrong hands to prevent accidental injury/death and suicides
- Create red flag laws to protect those who may be a danger to themselves or others
“These are common-sense measures. These are things that people all across the commonwealth of Pennsylvania support,” said Wolf.
Spokesperson for the House Republican Caucus, Jason Gottesman, says an increase in gun violence is largely driven by Democratic policies and a lack of local enforcement of the current laws.
“Pennsylvania has one of the most stringent gun background check laws in the entire country,” said Gottesman. “Right now, there are people who are on the streets and are violent criminals and are dangerous individuals as a result of progressive prosecutors not enforcing the law,” said Gottesman.
He says current gun laws should be enforced before new ones are introduced.
“If they’re not enforcing the laws on the books now, why would they enforce new laws? Why would they enforce new criminal statutes? Instead of putting more laws on the books, the laws that we have on the books already need to be enforced,” said Gottesman.
Gottesman says House Republicans are pushing a package of bills this week that would give Pennsylvanians “smart justice” for a safer commonwealth.
He adds that the package would ensure laws are enforced and that crime victims have access to the rights they’ve been afforded.
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