Gov. Wolf, AG Shapiro Push for More Gun Control in Wake of Boulder Mass Shooting

| March 27, 2021

Wolf-03262021HARRISBURG, Pa. (EYT) – Governor Tom Wolf, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, and state leaders recently joined CeaseFirePA and advocates to call for what they believe are “common-sense changes” to reduce gun violence.

Gov. Wolf signed an executive order in 2019 to take bold, sweeping actions to combat gun violence in Pennsylvania by targeting various types of gun violence with both preventive and proactive programs. However, he now says more action is needed from the General Assembly.

“Gun violence is a public health crisis in the commonwealth, one that disproportionately harms Pennsylvanians of color and that endangers our communities,” said Gov. Wolf.

“But, there are things we can and should do to reduce the danger gun violence poses to our neighbors, families, and friends.”

The renewed push for additional gun legislation began just after the mass shooting on Monday in Boulder, Colorado.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro not only stood with Governor Wolf on the issue, but also recently led a coalition of 18 states in issuing a letter calling on U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to close what they are calling a loophole in the ATF’s interpretation of the federal Gun Control Act that allows criminals, domestic abusers, and other prohibited purchasers of firearms to evade gun laws and purchase 80 percent receivers, which can be easily assembled into unserialized and untraceable ghost guns.

On Friday, Philadelphia’s District Attorney Larry Krasner joined Mayor Jim Kenney, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, Senator Sharif Street, and other state and local leaders to demand action to “reduce and prevent gun violence.”

Officials were joined by community-based anti-violence organizers and area residents at Olney Transportation Center, the site of a mass shooting on February 17th in which eight people ranging in age from 17 to 71 were shot.

“Governor Wolf has provided the funding, anti-violence advocates, and law enforcement to continue to do the work on the ground. Republican Leadership in Harrisburg must do its part to address gun reform policy that has gone ignored for too long. This includes common-sense measures like safe storage laws, lost and stolen reporting mandates, and legislation I’ve reintroduced to ban weapons of war. I urge my colleagues to join me in addressing the pandemic of gun violence across our Commonwealth,” Senator Street said.

While the renewed push for additional gun legislation remains a hot topic, it also remains a very divisive one, with some detractors even saying that making such a push after yet another gun-related tragedy is opportunistic.

“Calling the capitalization of the tragedy in Boulder and Atlanta as a call for more gun control is not only preposterous, it’s unethical and immoral. Every time something happens they look at the instrumentality but not the nuance and the issue,” said Kim Stolfer, president of the Pennsylvania chapter of Firearms Owners Against Crime recently told PennLive.

Any effort toward additional gun legislation tends to have many detractors in Harrisburg, where a large number of Republicans and even some conservative Democrats, particularly those from rural counties, find common ground on the issue.

One reason some Republican lawmakers stand opposed to gun legislation is that they consider it ineffective.

In a recent statement, House Republican Caucus spokesman, Jason Gottesman, said that new gun laws would only lead to more opportunities for illegal gun use.

Other lawmakers say we need to focus on things like mental healthcare and enforcement of existing laws.

“The only thing we need to do is start enforcing the laws we already have and get better mental health care for the people suffering from mental issues,” State Sen. Cris Dush (R-Indiana County) recently told the Meadville Tribune.

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