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Guest Opinion

4 bills that’d help address gun violence in PA


Gun violence is still a major problem in our country today. Reading and watching extremely negative news stories is getting tiresome. Some of the violence stems from the escalation of the coronavirus. The spread of the coronavirus really put a damper on the way of living. There is also a communication gap. More transparency has to be done between all people.

Actions from local townships, boroughs and municipalities that help stem this gun violence crisis are continuing to bridge the gap between police and community citizens. More police officers should know people they are policing in the community in a positive way to make the environment where civilians live feel safer and bringing more sources of revenue.

There are specific gun legislation bills in Pennsylvania that can help decrease gun violence in our communities. Some bills were passed but others have not passed.

These bills are as follows:

• First bill — HB 1018 — is to create Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs) to prevent firearm suicides, mass shootings, and domestic violence homicides. This bill passed 102-99. It allows law enforcement to temporarily seize firearms from someone deemed by a judge to be an immediate threat to themselves or others. This is otherwise known as a “red-flag” bill.

• Second bill — HB 714 —would enact universal background checks to stop weapons of war from getting into the wrong hands by closing a gap in Pennsylvania’s system that allows long guns to be privately purchased or transferred without a background check. This bill, which passed 109-92, would “close the so-called gun show loophole” by expanding background checks to include private purchases of long guns.

• A third bill — HB 338 — would require the reporting of lost and stolen firearms within three days to reduce the flow of illegal guns fueling community-based violence. It narrowly failed by a one-vote margin of 101-100.

• A fourth bill — HB 731 — would requiring the safe storage of guns in the home to prevent school shootings, suicides and unintentional shootings. It was advanced at second consideration.

Alim Howell, a Delaware County resident, is a community activist and spokesperson for Race for Peace.

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