Executive Order – 2019-06- Reducing Gun Violence

August 16, 2019

Subject: Reducing Gun Violence
Number: 2019-06
By Direction of: Tom Wolf, Governor
Date: August 16, 2019

WHEREAS, gun violence in the United States and within this Commonwealth has resulted in the tragic loss of human life; and

WHEREAS, more than 1,600 individuals lost their lives to a firearm death in Pennsylvania in 2017 at a rate higher than the national average, and the number of firearm deaths continues to rise; and

WHEREAS, gun violence is a multi-layered issue that manifests itself as a public health crisis affecting communities across Pennsylvania, resulting in a significant number of suicides and accidental deaths by gun and the growing threat of mass casualty incidents like the domestic terror incident at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh; and

WHEREAS, the scourge of gun violence plagues our communities and denigrates our values as Pennsylvanians; and

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth must be committed to deploying all necessary resources to reduce gun violence and to keep weapons from dangerous individuals; and

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth must engage in a statewide effort to combat the systemic causes of violence, such as poverty, lack of economic opportunities and mental and behavioral health supports; and

WHEREAS, Sections 501 and 502 of The Administrative Code of 1929 (71 P.S. §§ 181, 182) require administrative departments and the several independent and departmental administrative boards and commissions to coordinate their work and activities with other departments, boards, and commissions.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Tom Wolf, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and other laws, do hereby order and direct as follows:

  1. Senior Advisor for Gun Violence Prevention. There is hereby establisheda Senior Advisor for Gun Violence Prevention (Senior Advisor) who willcoordinate the Commonwealth’s gun reform agenda. The Senior Advisor shallbe appointed by and shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor.
  2. Office of Gun Violence Prevention. There is hereby established within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) the Office of Gun Violence Prevention (Office), which shall work to eradicate gun violence from a public safety perspective. The Office will collaborate with the Division of Violence Prevention, coordinate a system of focused police deterrence in neighborhoods and cities where violence is most extreme, and work with other Commonwealth agencies and stakeholders on community gun violence prevention and lost and stolen firearms reporting requirements for law enforcement.
  3. Division of Violence Prevention. There is hereby established within the Department of Health, the Division of Violence Prevention (Division), which will work to eradicate and prevent gun violence from a public health perspective. The Division will collaborate with the Office of Gun Violence Prevention and administer the Department of Health’s new and existing violence prevention programs.
  4. Violence Data Dashboard. The Department of Health will establish a Violence Data Dashboard (Dashboard) that will collect and provide data on the scope, frequency, locations, and populations affected by violence, including data on the number of victims of gun violence, rates at which gun violence occurs in locations, and contributory factors. The Department of Health will coordinate with and collect data from the Department of Human Services, Pennsylvania State Police, PCCD, and other Commonwealth entities.
  5. Executive Agency Responsibilities. In addition to the foregoing, the following Commonwealth agencies will provide support to assist in understanding the causes and prevention of gun violence.
    1. Department of Health, in addition to establishing the Dashboard, the Department of Health will establish a Suicide Death Review Team to conduct multidisciplinary reviews of suicides, provide data to the Dashboard, and make recommendations to prevent future suiciderelated deaths in Pennsylvania.
    2. Department of Human Services will direct the Suicide Prevention Task Force to make recommendations on actions to reduce suicides by gun.
    3. Pennsylvania State Police will enhance and expand its efforts to identify and deter potential sources of gun violence, develop gun violence prevention training, and draft guidelines for local gun buyback programs.
  6. Special Council on Gun Violence. There is established within PCCD a Special Council on Gun Violence to study and make recommendations to reduce and prevent gun violence.
    1. Council Responsibilities. The Council shall:
      1. Conduct its first meeting within 60 days of this Executive Order.
      2. Adopt a public health and community engagement strategy that includes gun owners, health care professionals, and victims of gun-related incidents, that will provide direction, duties, and responsibilities to the Office.
      3. Review current background check processes for firearms purchasers and make recommendations for improvement.
      4. Review best practices and make recommendations that keep weapons from dangerous individuals.
      5. Identify and define strategies across Commonwealth agencies to align resources to reduce gun violence.
      6. Provide PCCD and the Senior Advisor with recommendations to reduce incidents of community violence, mass shootings, domestic violence, suicide, and accidental shootings in this Commonwealth within 180 days of the initial meeting of the Council.
    2. Composition.
      1. The Council shall consist of the following members who shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Governor. Members may appoint designees to serve on their behalf. The Governor will fill vacancies as they occur.
        1. Representative of the Children’s Advocacy Center Advisory Committee (CACAC);
        2. Representative of the Criminal Justice Advisory Committee (CJAC);
        3. Representative of the Mental Health and Justice Advisory Committee (MHJAC);
        4. Representative of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Committee (JJDPC);
        5. Representative of the Victims’ Services Advisory Committee (VSAC);
        6. Representative of the School Safety and Security Committee (SSSC);
        7. Representative of the Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Education and Training Board (SDSETB);
        8. One representative from each of the four legislative caucuses of the General Assembly;
        9. The following Commonwealth Officials:
          1. Secretary of Education;
          2. Secretary of Health;
          3. Secretary of Human Services;
          4. State Police Commissioner;
          5. Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency;
          6. Director of the Office of Homeland Security.
      2. The Governor may appoint ex officio members to assist the Council as needed. Ex officio members shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor.
      3. The PCCD Chair shall head the Council and shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor.
    3. Council Operations.
      1. The Council may establish committees, rules, and procedures necessary to effectively fulfill its obligations.
      2. A majority of the members of the Council shall constitute a quorum.
      3. Members of the Council may attend Council meetings in person or virtually by telephone, Skype, or other electronic communications method approved by the Council. Virtual attendance shall be considered attendance for purposes of constituting a quorum.
      4. The Council will receive administrative services and assistance from PCCD.
    4. Compensation. Members of the Council shall not receive compensation for their service on the Council, except that members may be entitled to receive reimbursement for reasonable travel costs and expenditures incurred while performing Council business in accordance with the Commonwealth’s travel and subsistence policies. The PCCD will pay for the approved travel and subsistence expenses of the Council members who are not Commonwealth employees or officials.
  7. Implementation. All Commonwealth agencies under the Governor’s jurisdiction are directed to take all steps necessary to implement this Executive Order. Independent agencies are also strongly encouraged to implement this Executive Order.
  8. Effective Date. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately and shall remain in effect until amended or rescinded by the Governor.
  9. Effective Date. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately and shall remain in effect until amended or rescinded by the Governor.
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