Gun Safety for Every Pennsylvanian

Senate Democrats Kick Off National Gun Violence Prevention Month

June 5, 2023

Every Pennsylvanian deserves to live a life free from gun violence. To achieve this, we must:

    Ban Assault Weapons

    We must prohibit ownership of assault weapons such as the AR-15, including its high capacity ammunition feeding devices, and other accessories, that have become the tool of choice in mass murders.

    Mental Health in Schools

    Recognizing the particular vulnerability that exists in our schools, we propose a new requirement that each school must provide school psychologists, school counselors, and school social workers to meet the mental health needs of their students. Offering these services will go a long way toward intervening with students that might commit the worst violence and to greatly improve school climate and student performance.

    Extreme Risk Protections

    Implementation of legislation to allow for courts to order public protection orders if a person is demonstrating dangerous mental health characteristics would provide much needed protection to the public. Such an order would temporarily suspend an individual’s access to firearms if there is documented evidence that a person is threatening to harm themselves or others. The person subject to that order must surrender their guns to police and will not be able to buy, sell, or possess other firearms with a judge determining the time frame of this suspension not to exceed one year.

    Safe Storage Requirements

    Too many firearm incidents happen because of improperly securing guns to prevent them from getting into the wrong hands, including children or unwell individuals. Requiring gun locks and safe storage are commonsense prevention options.

    Universal Background Checks

    While this should be common sense, expanding our current system of background checks to ALL firearm sales is a priority. Currently, certain gun show purchases and person-to-person sales do not require a basic background check. Every firearm sale in Pennsylvania needs to undergo a background check. Period.

    Did you Know?

    Did you know? Did you know? On average, 21 guns go missing every day in PA
    Did you know? Between 70% and 90% of guns used in youth suicides, unintentional shooting among children, and school shootings perpetrated by shooters under the are of 18 are acquired from the home or homes of relatives or friends.
    Did you know? Nearly 25% of all gun owners report storing their guns in an unlocked location in the home.
    Did you know? A study showed 33% of guns recovered at a crime scenes in Pittsburgh had been stolen.
    Did you know? 85% of non-gun owners & 72% of gun owners.
    Did you know? As many as 1 in 9 arranging to buy a firearm on the nation's largest online gun marketplace are people who cannot legally own a gun.
    Did you know? 380,000 firearms are stolen form gun owners across the country every year.
    Did you know? 9 states plus D.C. have waiting periods that apply to the purchase of at least one type of firearm.
    Did you know? An estimated 54% of gun owners don't lock all of their guns.
    Did you know? Studies suggest that waiting periods laws may reduce firearm suicide rates by 7-11%.
    Did you know? Up to 80% of individuals considering suicide exhibit warning signs that they are considering suicide.
    Did you know? 70% of Republicans & 92% of Democrats favor background checks for private firearm and gun show sales.

     Student March for Gun Safety

    A rally against gun violence brought 150 Philadelphia students to Harrisburg, where they marched to the Capitol to call for more gun control laws. The Forget Me Knot program is based out of Philadelphia and provides job training, mentorship, and educational resources for at-risk youth impacted by things like poverty and abuse.

    More than 200 students and adults marched and rallied on the steps of the Pennsylvania capital. Senator Sharif Street hosted the rally.


    3D-printed Firearms and Undetectable Firearms

    Senate Bill 48

    This legislation would ensure 3D-printed firearms are subject to the Uniform Firearm Act and would ensure a 3D-printed firearm is considered a firearm for purposes of Title 18. In addition, the legislation would prohibit anyone from printing a firearm without a license from the Federal Government to manufacture firearms.

    3D-printed Firearms and Undetectable Firearms

    Senate Bill 49

    This legislation would amend the Uniform Firearm Act to make it crystal clear that an undetectable firearm or a “ghost gun” is a firearm. From 2019 to 2020, the number of recovered ghost guns in the City of Philadelphia jumped from 95 to 250.  In 2021, 571 ghost guns were recovered, more than double the previous year.  Estimates from the Philadelphia Police Department expect the 2022 numbers to continue to climb through the end of 2022.

    Prohibiting Weapons in Public Parks

    Senate Bill 53

    This legislation would prohibit firearms or other dangerous weapons in public recreation areas. The legislation, which is mirrored after current provisions of law which prohibit the possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapons in court facilities and on school property, would make it a crime to possesses a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a public recreation area. A public recreation area would be defined as a park, recreation center or pool owned or operated by a political subdivision.

    Requiring a Firearms Safety or Training Course as a Condition of Obtaining a Concealed Carry Permit

    Senate Bill 56

    This legislation would require an individual to complete a firearms safety or training course as a condition of being issued a Concealed Carry Permit. This legislation is based on a similar requirement in the State of Florida.

    Adding Additional Disqualifying Criminal Convictions to the Uniform Firearms Act

    Senate Bill 57

    This legislation would expand the list of criminal convictions that disqualify a person from possessing, using, manufacturing, controlling, selling or transferring a firearm. A review of current law reveals that convictions for a number of serious crimes, including crimes of violence, sex crimes, and crimes against children, do not disqualify a person from possessing a firearm.

    Pennsylvania Center for Gun Violence Research

    Senate Bill 59

    This legislation would create a Pennsylvania Center for Gun Violence Research. Under this legislation, a research center for gun violence will be established in the Commonwealth. The Center for Gun Violence’s mission will be to conduct independent academic research on gun violence and provide policymakers with scientific evidence to develop sound, nonpartisan gun violence prevention policies and programs. The research center will be housed at a university located in the Commonwealth. The university that will host the research center will be selected by a review committee after a solicitation for request for proposals.

    Closing the Gap on Background Checks for Private Long Gun Sales

    Senate Bill 60

    This legislation would eliminate most of the exceptions to the requirement of a background check prior to the purchase or transfer of a firearm. The close familial transfer exception to the background check requirements would remain under this legislation.  This legislation would remove the different background check requirements based off barrel length and require all firearm sales, regardless of the barrel length, be conducted in front of a licensed importer, manufacturer, dealer, or county sheriff.

    Permit to Purchase

    Senate Bill 65

    This legislation would require an individual to obtain a firearm eligibility license prior to purchasing a gun. This legislation is a direct response to the devastating gun violence that continues to plague our Commonwealth.

    Assault Weapons Ban

    Senate Bill 200

    This legislation would enact an assault weapons ban in Pennsylvania. Our bill would mirror language that is very similar to what was enacted in Connecticut after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which is considered to be some of the toughest in the nation.

    Specifically, our bill will broaden the scoop of what the state classifies as assault weapons including banning more than 150 gun models. The legislation will also ban the sale of gun magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds, as well as provide for a voluntary buy-back program for individuals that currently own firearms that would now fall under this legislation.

    Extreme Risk Protection Order

    Senate Bill 204

    This legislation would establish a system in our Commonwealth for the implementation of Extreme Risk Protection Orders. An ERPO grants family members and law enforcement the ability to petition a court to temporarily suspend an individual’s access to firearms if there is documented evidence that an individual is a threatening harm to themselves or others.

    Divestiture and Investment Prohibition from Assault Weapon Manufacturers

    Senate Bill 214

    This legislation would prohibit future investments by the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS), the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS), the Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement System (PMRS), and the State Treasurer in any company that manufactures assault weapons (such as the AR-15), large capacity ammunition feeding devices, or assault weapon accessories (such as bump stocks).

    Liability on Sales or Transfers of Firearms

    Senate Bill 220

    This legislation would amend the Uniform Firearms Act (“UFA”) to impose strict civil and criminal liability on any person, licensed importer, licensed dealer or licensed manufacturer who knowingly and intentionally sells, delivers or transfers a firearm in violation of the UFA if that gun is subsequently used in a crime or attempted crime. Current law imposes liability only where the seller has “reason to believe” the firearm will be used in a crime or attempted crime.

    Firearms Safety Training

    Senate Bill 281

    This legislation would require that first time firearm owners receive training in areas of safe handling and storage of firearms, suicide awareness, child access awareness, domestic violence awareness, road rage awareness and prevention and safe interaction with law enforcement while carrying a firearm.

    Repealing Pennsylvania's "Stand Your Ground" Law

    Senate Bill 424

    This legislation would re-establish its “Duty to Retreat” law, which states that a person facing a dangerous threat outside of their home must retreat or try to resolve the situation by non-violent means if it’s safe to do so, with the use of force only legally available as a last resort. “Stand Your Ground” laws encourage gun violence. As such, it is time that we repeal “Stand Your Ground” here in Pennsylvania.

    Secure Storage

    Senate Bill 427

    This legislation would require gun owners to safely store firearms when not under direct control of the owner. From 2005 to 2014, roughly 20,000 American minors were killed or seriously injured in accidental shootings; the majority of those killed in these tragic accidents were aged 12 or younger.

    Secure Storage

    Senate Bill 431

    This legislation would require gun owners to safely store firearms if a person who cannot legally possess a firearm lives in the owner’s residence. Millions of children live in homes with easily accessible firearms. A 2018 study found that 4.6 million minors in the U.S. live in homes with at least one loaded, unlocked firearm. In fact, most children know where their parents keep their guns — even if their parents think otherwise.

    Secure Storage

    Senate Bill 457

    This legislation would require safe storage of firearms when children are present in the home. Failure to comply with this requirement would result in a felony of the third degree if the firearm is used in a crime, or if death or grievous injury is caused, or a summary offense (misdemeanor of the third degree if second or subsequent offense) if a child is found in unlawful possession of a firearm. In 2022 there were at least 321 unintentional shootings by children, resulting in 143 deaths and 188 injuries nationally.

    Lost & Stolen Guns

    Senate Bill 461

    This legislation would require lost or stolen firearms be reported to local law enforcement authorities within 24 hours. Requiring lost or stolen firearms be reported to local law enforcement authorities would help to limit the availability of illegally obtained weapons and ultimately make our communities safer.

    Checking-In of Firearms in Municipal Buildings

    Senate Bill 536

    This legislation would require firearms to be checked in and safely stored at municipal buildings in the Commonwealth. Similar to the laws pertaining to courthouses, any buildings which house municipal administrative offices would have to provide a check-in location in which lawful firearms would be safely stored and then returned to the owner upon leaving the building.

    Establishing a 72-Hour Waiting Period for All Firearm Transfers

    Senate Bill 637

    This legislation establishes a 72-hour waiting period for all firearm transfers in the Commonwealth. This is a companion measure to House Bill 1306 of last session.

    Research has shown that waiting period laws reduce both suicides and violent crime. Many studies suggest that most suicide survivors, for example, contemplated their actions for only a brief period of time—often less than 24 hours—before making a suicide attempt. More than 60 percent of firearm deaths are suicides; reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal means is an important part of a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention.

    Voluntary Do-Not-Sell Firearm Registry

    Senate Bill 641

    This legislation will create a Do-Not-Sell Firearm Registry. The purpose of this voluntary registry is to reduce self-harm and suicides in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The legislation is modeled on Do-Not-Sell Firearm Registry laws enacted in the state of Washington and Commonwealth of Virginia. Similar legislation has been introduced in California, Louisiana, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin.

    Reasonable and Responsible Firearm Purchasing Rules

    Senate Bill 672

    This legislation will prohibit the sale or possession of assault weapons for individuals under the age of 21. Members of the armed services would be exempt from this law. This legislation would bring Pennsylvania gun laws in line with Federal law regarding the minimum age of purchasing handguns and would promote safer and more responsible firearm ownership and is a companion bill to Representative Pete Schweyer’s House Bill 717 of the 2021-22 Session.

    Senate Resolution 23 – Gun Violence Survivors Week 2023

    This resolution would recognize the first week of February 2023 as “Gun Violence Survivors Week” in Pennsylvania.

    National Gun Violence Survivors Vigil

    February 1, 2022

    Enough is Enough

    Gov. Tom Wolf Signs Executive Order on Gun Violence

    August 16, 2019: Governor Tom Wolf signs an executive order to make sweeping changes to executive branch agencies and programs to better target the public health crisis of gun violence. The executive order is the result of months of work by Governor Wolf and his administration to focus on substantive steps that can be taken to reduce gun violence and make communities safer. Governor Wolf was joined by Senators Jay Costa and Anthony H. Williams.  

    In Remembrance

    Senate Democrats Remember Victims of Gun Violence and Call for Action

    Senate Democrats join Gov. Wolf and U.S. Senator Bob Casey for a bipartisan event in remembrance of the victims of all gun violence and as a call-for-action after a weekend of mass shootings and a continued deaf-ear response from federal and state lawmakers to take up stricter gun laws.

    Gov. Wolf Hosts Bipartisan Remembrance of Victims and Call for Action Event Against Gun Violence at the Capitol