House Safe Caucus co-chairs applaud step forward for firearm regulations

HARRISBURG, April 26 – State Reps. Dan Frankel and Anthony Bellmon celebrated the first serious legislative action on gun violence prevention measures in years on Wednesday, and they vowed to continue to fight for the bills to become law.

“The panic that Pennsylvanians feel over gun violence soars with each tragic headline, and it has been compounded by years of inaction by a Republican-led General Assembly,” said Frankel, D-Allegheny. “Under Democratic leadership, we can finally have research-based conversations and actual votes about life-saving measures that would allow our constituents to move through their lives without fear for themselves and their children.”

State Rep. Bellmon, who has worked in his own community and in Washington to combat gun violence, said the quick but deliberate work of the Judiciary Committee is heartening in view of the relentless news of gun violence impacting Pennsylvania.

“The safety of our communities is of the utmost importance, and one crucial way to keep them safe is to tackle gun violence,” said Bellmon, D-Philadelphia. “These four bills being voted out of committee today is a great step in the right direction to keep Pennsylvanians across the commonwealth safe from gun violence.”

The Judiciary Committee passed four bills on a party line vote Wednesday. The bills would:

  • Require firearm owners to report the loss or theft of guns (HB 338).
  • Require background checks on every sale of a firearm (HB 714).
  • Require firearm owners to store guns safely (HB 731).
  • Provide a mechanism for loved ones, family members or law enforcement to ask a judge to hold a hearing to temporarily disarm someone in crisis (HB 1018).

As House co-chairs of the bicameral PA Safe Caucus, which works to pass gun violence prevention legislation, Frankel and Bellmon noted that the best way forward would be for the two parties to work together to reduce gun suicides, partner violence, community-based violence and mass shootings.

“Our hope is that between overwhelming support from Pennsylvanians – including gun owners – and the steadfast commitment of Democratic leaders to gun violence prevention, Republicans will drop their “block everything” strategy and work with us,” Frankel said. “With or without them, Democrats must relentlessly pursue real solutions to the urgent problem of gun violence.”