Philadelphia House Delegation applauds win on gun safety

An important set of bills cleared the Judiciary Committee after years of delay and frustration

HARRISBURG, APRIL 26 – The Philadelphia House Delegation today announced that an important set of firearm safety bills was approved by the PA House Judiciary Committee today and is on its way to consideration by the full House.

The package of legislation, which cleared its first key committee, is aimed at securing prompt reporting of theft or loss of firearms, keeping guns secure around children, regulating background checks, and repealing provisions relating to the sale or transfer of firearms, among other regulations.

Philadelphia House Delegation Chair Morgan Cephas explained that this is a remarkable day for the delegation as another hurdle in efforts to deflate gun violence has been cleared.

“This victory is long overdue. We are finally moving gun violence bills out of the Judiciary Committee. We have relentlessly fought for these bills”, Cephas said. “In a republican majority there was no chance for any kind of gun reform, but the time has come, and we couldn’t be more optimistic about this process. 

State Rep. Darisha Parker indicated that the bill on Safe Storage (H.B. 731) would help to save lives. Parker proposed consolidating statutes for firearms and other dangerous articles, providing for locking device for firearms.

"There is no reason that anyone should lose a loved one because of a mishandled firearm," Parker said. "My legislation would prevent needless tragedies by keeping guns safe, secure and out of the hands of the 1 million children who currently live in a home with unsecured firearms," Parker said.

State Rep. Joseph C. Hohenstein, delegation secretary, who also serves as member of the Judiciary Committee, emphasized that the bills approved by the Judiciary Committee today are common sense measures that responsible gun owners should have no problem with.

“For the right to bear arms to be properly exercised, it must be exercised by recognizing the rights of everyone else to their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our country is founded on individual liberty, but the safety of our society cannot be compromised,” Hohenstein said.

State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, delegation treasurer and co-prime sponsor of legislation to report lost and stolen firearms (H.B. 338), pointed out that the gun violence crisis requires a complete government approach.

“For years I have championed legislation to end the scourge of straw purchasing weapons on our streets. This is basic. If you own a gun, you must report it lost or stolen to law enforcement. I’m thrilled to have it move out of the Judiciary Committee today. I will never stop working to make my district and our commonwealth safer,” Kenyatta said.

Here is the package of legislation that was approved by the Judiciary Committee today:

H.B. 338 (Sanchez/Kenyatta) Lost and Stolen.

H.B. 714 (Warren) Universal Background Checks.

H.B. 731 (Parker) Safe Storage.

H.B. 1018 (O’Mara) Extreme Risk Protection Orders.