Harrisburg, PA – June 13, 2022 – Today, Pennsylvania Senate Democrats made a motion for the Senate to vote on a Discharge Resolution that would move Senate Bill 134 out of committee and to the floor of the Senate for a full vote during session. State Senate Republicans blocked the Resolution with a unanimous no vote.
The Discharge Resolution was one of six that was filed by Senate Democrats last week in an effort to move legislation that would address loopholes and gaps that make it easy for irresponsible and at-risk individuals to obtain firearms.
If passed, SB 134 would establish an extreme risk protection order (ERPO), or red flag law, system in Pennsylvania. The system would give 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. The bill was introduced by Senator Fontana and has been sitting in committee since January 2021.
“Over the weekend, a bipartisan group of US Senators showed it is possible to take a collaborative approach to addressing our country’s gun violence crisis. State Republicans had the opportunity to follow their example and work with Democrats to pass legislation that will make our communities safer. Unfortunately, they chose to continue to do nothing,” said Senator Jay Costa, Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Leader. “This is a measure that can help keep guns away from individuals who are a threat to the safety of others or themselves, yet it will remain stalled. As we just saw from DC, we should not be averse to working together to pass laws that can save lives.”
Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia have extreme risk or red flag laws in place. In 54% of mass shooting cases, the shooter exhibits warning signs that they pose a risk. In 80% of suicides, the individual exhibits warning signs.
“For several sessions now, I have introduced Senate Bill 134, that would establish an extreme risk protection order in Pennsylvania,” said Senator Fontana. “It’s disappointing and disgusting that our elected officials have become a group of cowards that will not listen to their constituency, stand up for those we represent and demand meaningful reform.”
“Senate Democrats will continue to fight for common sense gun reform, despite the lack of support from our colleagues across the aisle,” said Senator Costa. “We will also continue our advocacy for investments in mental health care at the community level and in our schools as well as funding for evidence-based programs and organizations to address community violence, including hate crimes. These are all issues we can address now as we begin to discuss and negotiate next year’s budget.”
Senate Democrats have also filed discharge resolutions for the following bills supporting gun reform:
- Senate Bill 88- Universal Background Checks for Firearms
- Senate Bill 217- Lost and Stolen Gun Reporting
- Senate Bills 581 and 582– Safe Storage of Firearms
- Senate Bill 761- 72-Hour Waiting Period for All Firearm Transfers