Gov. Wolf: Law Enforcement, Domestic Violence, Minority, Family Advocacy Organizations Support Veto of Bill that Endangers Pennsylvania Lives

December 03, 2021

Harrisburg, PA – Following Governor Tom Wolf’s veto of Senate Bill 565 yesterday, nearly a dozen law enforcement, domestic violence, minority and family advocacy organizations have expressed their support for the veto to strike down legislation that would have made it easier for concealed weapons to be carried throughout Pennsylvania by unvetted gun-holders.

CeaseFirePA:

“The General Assembly tried to make this and future holiday shopping seasons more dangerous by allowing anyone to carry a concealed firearm, no permit needed. While Governor Wolf’s veto thankfully will keep it from becoming law, none of us should think that’s good enough. Until the legislature sends one of the numerous evidence-based solutions awaiting a debate and vote in the General Assembly to the Governor’s desk for a signature, more Pennsylvanians will die from this preventable public health crisis,” said Adam Garber, Executive Director of CeaseFirePA.

Office of Victim Advocate:

“As the Commonwealth Victim Advocate with the duty and authority to advocate for the rights and needs of crime survivors, it is difficult to view the firearms licensing requirement as egregious or an interference to the natural rights of law-abiding citizens, particularly in the same week that Pennsylvania citizens are dealing with the death of a 14-year-old boy who was shot at a bus stop,” said Commonwealth Victim Advocate Suzanne V. Estrella. “I am hopeful that as a community we will find ways to seek peace and pursue it.”

Moms Demand Action:

“Gun violence is a public health crisis in Pennsylvania, but when common sense gun safety measures were on the table, state lawmakers forced through a dangerous permitless concealed carry bill instead,” said Erin Buchner, a volunteer with the Pennsylvania chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We are very grateful to Governor Wolf for vetoing this harmful legislation and putting an end to this bad faith effort to weaken our gun laws. The message is clear: Pennsylvania lawmakers need to spend their time promoting gun safety, not trying to dismantle it.”

Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association:

“We are in opposition to any law that increases risk to law enforcement and public. This law would lower the bar allowing permitless people to carry concealed weapons while they walk the streets and would hurt the Commonwealth’s system for responsible gun ownership. If this bill had passed, it would have made the jobs of our law enforcement officers more difficult and more hazardous. This is not good public policy,” said Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association Scott Bohn. “We need to be lessening the frequency in which we engage armed citizens, with this bill we would – in fact – do the exact opposite.”

Chester Community Coalition:

“Having to support families in the aftermath of gun violence – helping them to deal with the grief, fear, confusion and pain it causes – makes it important for us to see their safety and wellbeing protected. Chester Community Coalition welcomes actions that help to create a safer, more peaceful world,” commented Alexia Clarke, Executive Director of the Chester Community Coalition.

Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV):

“PCADV applauds Governor Wolf’s veto of SB 565. Guns are used in more than half of domestic violence homicides each year in Pennsylvania. Any law that expands and eases access to firearms puts victims of domestic violence, their families, and communities at unnecessary increased risk and in harm’s way.”

Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley:

“With an increase in the number of firearms in Pennsylvania [legal and illegal], we have also seen an uptick in gun violence across communities in the commonwealth. Gun violence is disproportionately hurting Black communities, and vetoing this bill is a huge step in battling this public safety crisis. Thank you, Governor Wolf, for your leadership and your dedication to combatting this issue,” said Dr. Hasshan Batts, Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley, Governor’s Advisory Commission on African American Affairs.

Women Against Abuse:

“As a domestic violence service provider, we are concerned with this legislation as it currently exists because of the deadly intersection of firearms and intimate partner violence,” said Joanna Otero-Cruz, Executive Director and President of Women Against Abuse. “Research has found that women in abusive relationships are five times more likely to be killed by their partner if they own a gun,and homicides involving intimate partners rose 25% in 2020. It is clear that the lack of enforcement of gun laws is failing victims of domestic violence, and we fear the proposed legislation will make a dangerous situation worse.”

SisTers PGH:

“Gun violence continues to play a huge role in hate crimes against trans women here in Pennsylvania. The majority of the trans women who have been taken from us have been murdered using firearms. In all of these cases of gun violence against trans women, cis men have been the perpetrators.  We recently lost a black trans woman, Angel Murray, who resided in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. Angel was strangled and then shot in the head with no remorse. These acts of violence would only increase if weapons were more easily concealed,” commented Ciora Thomas, Executive Director, SisTers PGH, Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs.

Asian American Coalition for Health:

“Today, we have too much gun violence and too many anti-Asian hate incidents in the Greater Philadelphia region and nationwide. As an Asian American leader of a nonprofit organization serving seniors and sponsoring youth academy & leadership programs, gun safety and violence prevention measures are vital for our community. I would like to see our seniors and children live their lives in a safe and healthy environment,” said George Choe, Chair, Asian American Coalition for Health.

National Association of Social Workers, Pennsylvania Chapter (NASW-PA):

“Social workers see first-hand the repercussions of gun violence on its victims, the families and loved ones left behind, and the impacted communities. The consequences are detrimental to the overall mental and physical health of the Commonwealth. Facing this unprecedented public health crisis, Pennsylvania should be strengthening our gun violence prevention policies rather than reducing or eliminating our existing measures to protect the public from harm,” said Johanna Byrd, Executive Director, National Association of Social Workers, Pennsylvania Chapter.

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Rementer, ra-gvgovpress@pa.gov

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