Warren moves House to vote on universal background checks

HARRISBURG, June 22 – Citing the continued inaction of majority party leadership on gun safety issues widely supported in Pennsylvania, state Rep. Perry Warren, D-Bucks, filed a discharge resolution today to force consideration by the House of his universal background check bill, H.B. 235.

“This is a gun safety policy with tremendous support in Pennsylvania that has for years been stalled in the House Judiciary Committee,” Warren said. “This simple safety measure -- a background check on all firearm purchases -- respects the United States and Pennsylvania constitutions while protecting the lives of Pennsylvanians from gun violence.”

A recent poll of Pennsylvanians found that 89% support universal background checks for all firearm purchases. Currently, loopholes exist that allow certain firearms to be purchased at gun shows without the buyer undergoing a background check. Warren’s bill would close the so-called “gun show loophole” to ensure all firearm sales are subject to a comprehensive background check.

“This is not how legislating is supposed to work, but unfortunately our colleagues across the aisle proudly refuse to move most legislation introduced by Democrats, specifically gun safety measures,” said House Democratic Leader Rep. Joanna McClinton. “Our caucus stands with Representative Warren as he tries to use one of the only tools we have to circumvent this Republican obstruction.”

Earlier in June, the Republican-led Judiciary Committee blocked attempts to vote on other widely supported gun safety measures, including banning assault-style weapons, allowing local governments to pass their own gun safety measures, and requiring safe storage of firearms. This week in the Judiciary Committee, Republicans gutted a bill that would have increases the age to purchase assault-style weapons to 21-years-old and, instead, rewrote it to allow open carry of any type of firearm without a permit.

“These parliamentary maneuvers defy what Pennsylvanians want: for legislators to work together to increase gun safety in our state,” Warren said. “There’s bipartisan compromise at the federal level but, unfortunately in the Pennsylvania House, the committee has been a stone wall. Representatives have not had the chance to vote yes or no on background checks. I hope to change that next week.”