Frankel vows to continue fight against gun violence despite Republican obstructionism

Rather than vote, Republican use procedure to delay action on gun bills

HARRISBURG, June 13 – After a week of political maneuvering, Republicans in the Pennsylvania House of Representative used their power over the legislative schedule to block votes on a series of bills to address gun violence in Pennsylvania – but state Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, vowed Monday that he would continue to push the majority party to take up substantive legislation to save lives across the commonwealth.

"The entire Republican strategy is to obstruct, deflect and hide – anything to avoid talking about one of the most pressing issues of our time," Frankel said. "But the people of Pennsylvania are watching, and they can see through these cowardly maneuvers."

Tired of the callous lack of action by Republican leaders in the face of rising and increasingly brutal gun violence, Frankel and other Democrats attempted to force consideration of several bills that would help regulate firearms and protect Pennsylvanians. The bills have been stuck in the House Judiciary Committee, where the Republican Chair, Rob Kauffman, refused to allow them to be considered for further action.

Rather than allow those bills to be called to a vote on the House floor on Monday, Republicans sent them to another House committee. Frankel, who cochairs the Safe Caucus, assured Pennsylvanians that he and his Democratic colleagues will not make it easy for the majority party to ignore the issue of gun violence as our communities suffer.

“I have no tolerance for the feigned helplessness of political leaders in reaction to preventable gun violence,” Frankel said. “Little children hiding under their desks from legally purchased assault rifles – that’s helpless. Lawmakers are not helpless.”

Among the four bills Democrats sought to bring directly to the House floor for a vote using a legislative maneuver known as discharge resolution was Frankel’s legislation (HB1538), which would allow local governments to regulate firearms.

Frankel introduced the legislation after an antisemitic gunman murdered 11 people in his district as they gathered for synagogue in the Tree of Life building in 2018. The city of Pittsburgh’s subsequent attempt to bar weapons of war like the one used in the attack was blocked by Pennsylvania’s statewide restriction on local gun laws.

“If our General Assembly is so dysfunctional that we cannot take action to protect our constituents, it’s time that we empower local governments to do it instead,” Frankel said.