HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania House considered multiple pieces of gun safety legislation. Lawmakers spent most of the afternoon debating some of the bills after gun safety advocates rallied for the bills this morning.
The four-bill package of legislation includes:
HB 338: Requiring lost or stolen firearms to be reported within three days- Failure to report to law enforcement within 72 hours of the discovery could result in a summary offense.
HB 714: Expanded background checks- the bill would also close the “gun show” loophole and end an exception for the private sales of shotguns, sporting rifles and semi-automatic rifles.
HB 731: Safe storage requirements- All firearm sales would need to include a locking device to ensure safe storage of the firearm.
HB 1018: Extreme Risk Protection Order (Red flag law)- would allow a judge to order authorities to temporarily seize firearms from someone if asked by family members or police.
“It’s time for our lawmakers to step up and vote for our safety because our first and only priority should be protecting each other,” said Avery Hamill, a student advocate from Philadelphia.
Before today’s third consideration of the four bills in the House, advocates and mothers rallied for their final passage.
“We’re here today to watch the House, hopefully, vote on four historic pieces of gun safety legislation,” said Gina Pelusi with Moms Demand Action.
Advocating for the legislation is personal for Pelusi, who lost her mother to gun violence in 2014.
“We later found out the man who killed her was a convicted felon who legally should have never had access to a weapon,” said Pelusi.
State Rep. Jennifer O’Mara (D-Delaware) is the sponsor of HB 1018, which would allow extreme risk protection orders.
“When I was 13, I lost my dad to gun suicide. One of the reasons that I have been so focused on extreme risk protection orders is because it’s a real tool that we can put into place that can help loved ones help their family,” said O’Mara at the rally this morning.
Advocates say responsible gun owners have nothing to worry about.
“This type of legislation isn’t going to impact them in any way,” said Pelusi.
But Representative Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford) disagrees and says his constituents do too.
“I think this is just a continued look to roll back Second Amendment rights and those are concerns that my constituents have. They’ve reached out and made their voices loud and clear on this issue,” said Owlett.
Owlett does not believe the legislation will stop criminals who are already violating current gun laws. He says lawmakers should be looking at the symptom and not the weapon.
“I think we need to look at the symptom of what it is, and it’s mental health, it’s anger issues, it’s issues at home, it’s issues in the family, people not engaging,” said Owlett.
The House was in session until just before 5:30 Monday evening. Only two of the four bills passed: HB 714- universal background checks; and HB 1018- O’Mara’s Extreme Risk Protection bill.
HB 338 failed after a Democrat voted with Republicans and HB 731 was not considered.
“While this is just the first step, by passing these commonsense and responsible gun safety measures we’ve shown our neighbors and communities that we are listening and we are acting, and that we stand with them in combatting senseless gun violence,” said House Speaker Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia/Delaware) after today’s session.
HB 714 and HB 1018 now head to the Republican controlled Senate for consideration.
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