Gov. Wolf to Lawmakers: Enact Common Sense Legislation to End Gun Violence

May 25, 2022

Following the horrific mass shootings at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and at Tops Friendly Markets in Buffalo, NY, Governor Tom Wolf today called for immediate action from the General Assembly and Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation to pass common sense legislation to prevent gun violence.

“I am horrified by these tragedies and I am angry that our lawmakers continue to fail to address gun violence,” Gov. Wolf said. “I strongly urge our General Assembly and Congress to enact common sense legislation that will help stem the tide of gun violence.

“How many more children must die before we actually take meaningful action? How many more mass shootings must we witness before we wake up to the reality that gun violence is a public health crisis that must be addressed? People should feel safe going to school, the supermarket, their place of worship, the mall, the movies, and even outside in their community. Yet, these tragedies keep happening.

“Pennsylvania knows Texas’ pain. Too many states and communities know this pain as well. We lost five children in the 2006 mass shooting at a schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Lancaster County. The 2018 mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh gave us the terrible distinction of being home to the deadliest antisemitic attack in the country. And we see gun violence regularly in our communities.

“I’m tired of the lack of action. I have made addressing gun violence a priority throughout my administration. I wish I could say the same of our Republican-led legislature, which seems more focused on pushing dangerous bills that would loosen restrictions and put Pennsylvanians at risk. I urge Pennsylvanians to join me in calling for our lawmakers at the state and federal levels to take meaningful steps to end gun violence.”

Governor Wolf has worked to address gun violence in Pennsylvania throughout his terms:

  • 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 invested more than $50 million in grassroots, community gun violence prevention programs around the commonwealth.
  • He has included an additional $35 million in grants and technical assistance to support community-led gun violence prevention efforts in his 2022-23 budget proposal.
  • He has included an additional $36 million in the 2022-23 budget proposal toward behavioral health services, restoring two-thirds of the cuts enacted during the previous administration, and he is open to including additional funding.
  • In October 2021, he signed a Memorandum of Understanding with New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut to share crime gun data in an effort to prevent gun violence and enhance public safety.
  • 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 2022, he vetoed House Bill 979, which would discourage local jurisdictions from attempting to regulate firearms.

For years, Governor Wolf has called for the following basic gun laws to be legislated:

  • Require reporting for lost and stolen guns within 72 hours.
  • Close loopholes and require background checks on all gun sales.
  • Require safe storage of firearms to keep guns out of the wrong hands to prevent accidental injury/death and suicides.
  • Create red flag laws to protect those who may be a danger to themselves or others.
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