Gov. Wolf Joins President Biden to Celebrate Bipartisan Safer Communities Act
August 30, 2022
Governor Tom Wolf today joined President Joe Biden at Wilkes University to celebrate the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and how it will make communities here in Pennsylvania and across the United States safer.
“Our children deserve safety in their schools, families deserve safety in their homes – our communities deserve safe grocery stores, movie theaters, malls, and places of worship,” said Gov. Wolf. “President Biden knows that together, we can solve this. He knows that the actions we take today will make our communities safer tomorrow and that we can avoid the pain brought by gun violence.”
President Biden is the first president in nearly 30 years to garner bipartisan support on a comprehensive gun violence prevention package. He signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act into law in late June. Governor Wolf advocated for the package as it moved through Congress, and shared his relief when it was signed into law.
“As public servants, this is our responsibility: to put safety first, to stand up for what is right, and, when necessary, to chart a different path to build a brighter, safer future for us all,” added Gov. Wolf. “I’m grateful to President Biden for his leadership and vision, for his bravery to charge forward in the issues that have been crying for a champion.”
The package includes many priorities that Gov. Wolf has long advocated for, including:
- Funding to support the creation and administration of red flag laws that help to ensure deadly weapons are kept out of the hands of individuals a court has already determined to be a significant danger to themselves or others
- Clarifies the definition of a “federally licensed firearms dealer” to crackdown on criminals who illegally evade licensing requirements and clarifies which sellers need to register, conduct background checks, and keep appropriate records.
- Improves the review process for buyers under 21 by requiring an investigative period to review juvenile and mental health records
- Funds violence interrupting for community-based violence prevention initiatives
Pennsylvania is expecting $48.7 million from the package to increase funds for existing programs, including an estimated:
- $41.7 million for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Block Grant for safe and healthy school programs and effective use of technology.
- $4.9 million for Byrne Justice Assistance Programs to administer extreme risk protective order programs, drug courts, mental health courts, and veterans’ courts
- $2.1 million for the Mental Health Block Grant Program for mental health services for adults with serious mental illness and children with serious emotional disturbances
Gov. Wolf has worked to address gun violence in Pennsylvania throughout his time in office:
- 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 committed more than $100 million in grassroots, community gun violence prevention programs around the commonwealth.
- 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 of this year, he vetoed House Bill 979, which would discourage local jurisdictions from attempting to regulate firearms.
- Immediately implemented new federal ghost gun requirements at the state level to keep weapons out of the hands of individuals who cannot pass a background check