Pennsylvania Commissions Issue Joint Statement Calling for Meaningful Gun Safety Legislation
May 26, 2022
Following the horrific mass shootings at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and at Tops Friendly Markets in Buffalo, NY, the Pennsylvania Commissions for Women, African American, Latino, LGBTQ+, and Asian Pacific American Affairs released a joint statement calling for immediate action from the General Assembly and Pennsylvania’s Congressional Delegation to pass common sense gun safety legislation.
“The ongoing mass gun violence in the United States shows that our policies are ineffective and cannot be tolerated. This violence impacts us all. It does not discriminate by community and is absolutely senseless,” said Randi Teplitz, chair of the Pennsylvania Commission for Women. “It is time to put politics aside and pass common sense gun laws that protect our schools and communities or hold our elected officials accountable at the voting booth for their inaction.”
“It seems obvious that families send their children to school to receive an education, not to be harmed. Yet, too many school shootings have occurred in recent years. Tragedies such as what took place at Robb elementary school cause anxiety and fear for families who just want to protect their children while they receive an education,” said Dr. Damary Bonilla-Rodriguez, chair of the Education Committee of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs. “As a nation, we must continue dialogue and take immediate action to address the underlying causes leading to repeated mass shootings, especially in our schools. GACLA denounces violence and harm towards children. We’re working with state agencies, school districts and partners across the commonwealth to ensure a safe and equitable educational experience is accessible to every child in Pennsylvania. Our children deserve better.”
“I cannot even begin to process this week’s tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. My heart mourns for the families,” said LaDeshia Maxwell, executive director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on African American Affairs. “We are still mourning the loss of 10 Black people in the horrific mass shooting in Buffalo, NY, so we are all feeling a bit overwhelmed by the violence in this country. When I heard about the loss of 19 children and two schoolteachers in Texas, it felt, and still feels, like we cannot process one tragedy before the next happens. My commission and I are working to find holistic ways to combat gun violence in every community and pray that nothing like this happens again. I am praying for everyone who has been affected by gun violence.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and staff from the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. It breaks our hearts to hear the news about so many deaths at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde City. Those victims are mainly innocent children under 10 years old,” said Stephanie Sun, executive director, Governor’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs. “Three mass shootings in nine days – including Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian church in southern California – it must be stopped! We share all the pain, grief and anger with the families of children and adults who were killed and injured. We hope all of us will commit enough to fight against the gun violence and to not let this happen again.”
“As a person who has experienced gun violence the trauma and pain is something you never forget; the sounds of gunfire will likely forever provoke deep feelings of terror and hurt. These tragedies continue to happen while our leaders do little to change the conditions that lead to mass shootings – access to high powered guns,” said Rafael Alvarez-Febo, Executive Director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on LGBTQ+ Affairs. “Over the last year we have seen legislators across the country swoop in to enact politically motivated legislation to “protect children” when in fact the epidemic of gun violence is indeed what our children need protecting from.”
The Commissions will continue to work closely with community stakeholders and Governor Wolf to address gun violence in Pennsylvania. The Commissions stand with Governor Wolf’s call on the General Assembly to pass meaningful gun safety legislation:
- 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 hand sot prevent accidental injury/death and suicides.
- Create red flag laws to protect those who may be a danger to themselves or others.
The Commissions also join the Pennsylvania Department of Education in providing resources to support discussions around safety in our schools:
National Association of School Phycologists:
- Responding to School Violence: Tips for Administrators
- School Violence Prevention: Tips for Parents & Educators
Pennsylvania Department of Education:
The Commissions also recognize that these events may be triggers for students, parents, and others who have experienced trauma in the past and help is available 24/7 by text at 741-741 or by calling 1-800-273-8255.