(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — Governor Tom Wolf, along with state and local officials, on Friday joined CeaseFirePA, advocates, and gun violence survivors at a rally in Philadelphia to end gun violence.
“Too many communities here and across the nation have known the terror of a mass shooting, and too many communities deal with gun violence every day that may not make nationwide headlines but still leave fear, grief, and heartbreak in their wake. Gun violence has become entrenched in our nation, and the fact that our legislators at the state and national levels seem to be just fine with that is the greatest tragedy of all,” Gov Wolf said. “I am heartbroken. I am angry. But I refuse to give up on calling on our lawmakers to enact common sense legislation that protects Pennsylvanians.”
The governor says gun violence is happening every day in communities across Pennsylvania.
Gov. Wolf, along with CeaseFire PA, have been calling for the following basic gun laws to be legislated:
- 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.
“Guns kill more Pennsylvania children than anything else because too many legislators have decided that has to be their fate. It’s not a law of nature, it is the law of man. And that means we can change it but only if we refuse to accept any less from every elected official in Pennsylvania,” said CeaseFirePA Executive Director Adam Garber. “At CeaseFirePA, we will not stop until everyone can live free from gun violence.”
The governor claims the Republican-led General Assembly and Republican members of Congress refuse to adequately address this crisis.
Governor Wolf has made the following efforts to address gun violence in Pennsylvania:
- In 2019, he signed an executive order making sweeping changes to gun violence in Pennsylvania including the creation of a Special Council on Gun Violence.
- He has invested more than $50 million in grassroots, community gun violence prevention programs around the commonwealth.
- He has included an additional $35 million in grants and technical assistance to support community-led gun violence prevention efforts in his 2022-23 budget proposal.
- He has included an additional $36 million in the 2022-23 budget proposal toward behavioral health services, restoring two-thirds of the cuts enacted during the previous administration, and he is open to including additional funding.
- In October 2021, he signed a Memorandum of Understanding with New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut to share crime gun data in an effort to prevent gun violence and enhance public safety.
- In December 2021, he vetoed Senate Bill 565, dangerous legislation that would have removed licensing and background check requirements for concealed carry permits and overturned Philadelphia’s requirement for a permit to open carry.
- In January 2022, he vetoed House Bill 979, which would discourage local jurisdictions from attempting to regulate firearms.
“I will continue to do everything I can to bring peace to our communities but what we really need is for our legislators to do their jobs, and pass some laws. Doing nothing is absolutely unacceptable. Every day that they delay, lives are on the line,” Gov. Wolf said. “My message to leaders in Congress and Pennsylvania’s General Assembly is simple: Do your jobs. Protect our kids.”