Gov. Wolf: First Law to Take Guns from Abusers Goes into Effect

April 09, 2019

Harrisburg, PA – Act 79, signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf in October 2018, was the first law in Pennsylvania to truly take guns away from the dangerous abusers who use them to kill, terrorize and control. The law goes into effect tomorrow.

“With Act 79, victims of domestic abuse will know that Pennsylvania is working to protect them from their abusers,” Gov. Wolf said. “The incidents of domestic violence where guns are involved in our commonwealth prove that this commonsense law is an important step to protect victims of domestic abuse, save lives, and hold abusers accountable for their actions. I thank the many advocates and our General Assembly for passage of House Bill 2060, now Act 79.”

Gov. Wolf first called for the General Assembly to pass a package of domestic violence bills in October 2017, including Act 79’s domestic violence gun safety protections. One year later, he signed Act 79, the first law in 14 years to address gun violence.

Act 79 includes additional safeguards to help protect victims of domestic violence, including:

• New requirements around prohibiting abusers who have been issued a final protection from abuse orders issued after a contested hearing or conviction for misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence from possessing firearms and requires them to turn in their guns to law enforcement agencies within 24 hours while the order is in effect;
• Eliminates the concern about simply relinquishing a firearm to a family member or friend;
• Allows for the time that an individual is incarcerated not to be counted for the 90 days of a temporary PFA.

The Pennsylvania State Police has taken the necessary steps to communicate the changes implemented by Act 79 to its members and is working with external stakeholders, including the Pennsylvania Sheriff’s Association, the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence to prepare for the implementation of Act 79. State Police is also updating the Protection from Abuse Database (PFAD) system so that all law enforcement agencies can access the new forms that are required by the statute.

“Act 79 taking effect is a reminder that we need to do more to pass commonsense gun safety reforms, including universal background checks,” Gov. Wolf said. “We owe all Pennsylvanians a safe place to live and we need to continue working together to make that a reality.”

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