Gov. Wolf Condemns Republicans for Refusing to Move Forward Bill Package Addressing Gun Violence

June 13, 2022

Governor Tom Wolf today condemned Republicans in the House Judiciary Committee for refusing to move forward a package of commonsense bills that would help address the gun violence crisis facing Pennsylvania. 

Rather than voting to move four commonsense bills to the full House of Representatives for consideration, the Republicans in today’s House Judiciary Committee instead delayed true action by forcing a vote to re-refer the bills to another committee.

“Shameful. That’s what I’d call today’s action — or, rather, inaction,” Gov. Wolf said. “Lawmakers have an opportunity to take commonsense steps, which the majority of Pennsylvanians support. Instead of taking a vote to advance these bills, they are just delaying debate on this legislation. Gun violence won’t delay. Every day the Republicans stall, more people are at risk.

“This isn’t just a ‘Philadelphia’ issue. This is a statewide and national issue that must be addressed. It’s reprehensible that Republicans continue to stall when our own constituents want this addressed right now,” Gov. Wolf said. “I urge Republicans to stop these tactics and take action.”

Gun violence is now the leading cause of death in children and teenagers in this country. 

In a letter to the committee members late last week, the governor urged the committee to approve the four bills in their current form. 

“I have committed to doing everything I can to bring peace to our communities, but ultimately, sensible gun laws save lives, and the General Assembly must act to make statutory changes,” Gov. Wolf said. “Communities across the commonwealth – urban, suburban and rural – have experienced the horror of gun violence. We must do our part to prevent these tragedies.” 

Read a copy of the letter:

I applaud the committee for meeting June 13 to take up bills to address gun violence. I believe that the commonwealth’s greatest resource is its citizens, and I appreciate that you are taking this step because of serious concerns raised by our constituents.

I have committed to doing everything I can to bring peace to our communities, but ultimately, sensible gun laws save lives, and the General Assembly must act to make statutory changes. It is unconscionable that guns are now the leading cause of death in children and teenagers in this country. Communities across the commonwealth – urban, suburban, and rural – have experienced

the horror of gun violence. We must do our part to prevent these tragedies. 

My administration supports the four bills on the committee’s agenda to address gun violence in their current form. Responsible gun ownership is a right; however, guns kill more children in the United States than anything else. I ask members to please support these bills in their current form to allow the full House to debate and pass these important measures.

  • House Bill 699 (Fitzgerald): An Act amending Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) providing for safe storage of firearm when not in use.
  • House Bill 770 (Gainey): An Act amending Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) prohibiting certain assault weapons.
  • House Bill 1538 (Frankel): An Act amending Titles 18 (Crimes and Offenses) and 53 (Municipalities Generally) further providing for limitation on the regulation of firearms and ammunition, and on municipal powers.
  • House Bill 1903 (Stephens): An Act amending Titles 18 (Crimes and Offenses) and 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) further providing for persons not to possess, use, manufacture, control, sell or transfer firearms and for abandonment of firearms, weapons or ammunition, and adding provisions relating to extreme risk protection orders.

It is critical that the General Assembly pass meaningful gun control legislation in the wake of deadly mass shootings across the United States. If the aforementioned bills became law, they would not infringe upon the rights of law-abiding gun owners. This is not about taking guns away from those who lawfully own and operate them, it’s about ensuring guns are appropriately locked up and kept out of the hands of those who are more apt to cause harm.

Please pass House Bills 669, 770, 1538 and 1903 cleanly and without unnecessary procedural hurdles. We can no longer afford to do nothing. Every day that we delay, lives are on the line. Pennsylvanians are counting on you.

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