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Santarsiero calls for assault weapons ban


Appalled by all the gun violence across the United States including the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, N.Y., and Uvalde, Texas, state Sen. Steve Santarsiero and many others gathered just outside the Lower Makefield Township Municipal Building on June 9 to talk about another “common sense” attempt to do something about it.
Santarsiero announced at the news conference his intention to soon introduce Senate Bill 1300 that would ban military-style assault weapons in Pennsylvania. He was joined at the event by dozens of supporters of the proposed legislation, including officials from the Pennsbury and other Bucks County school districts, fellow state legislators and leaders of groups advocating for gun control measures.
Salvador Ramos used an AR-15 assault rifle to kill 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde before he was shot and killed by law enforcement officers.
“Military-style weapons have no place in civilian society,” said Santarsiero, who lives in Lower Makefield and whose 10th Senatorial District includes the township. His children attended Pennsbury’s Edgewood Elementary School about a half-mile from where he held the news conference.
“Easy access to assault weapons is one of the greatest threats to the health and safety of Pennsylvanians,” Santarsiero added.
Among many other provisions, the bill would broaden the scope of what the state classifies as assault weapons, banning more than 150 gun models. It would also ban the sale of gun magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds and would provide for a voluntary buy-back program for individuals that currently own firearms that would no longer be permitted. The bill permits continued possession of, but prohibits sale or transfer of, a grandfathered assault weapon.
Santarsiero and many of the other 11 speakers at the news conference characterized the proposed bill as a no-brainer because they said nobody needs an assault weapon to hunt or to protect their homes and families.

“I call on all elected officials to support this ban,” said Pennsbury School Board President TR Kannan. “Why do we need them (assault weapons)? What do we lose by not having them?”
Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer reminded those at the news conference that the U.S. once had a ban on military-style assault weapons.
“And the world did not end,” he said. “The sun came up in the morning and went down at night, and a lot fewer children were massacred. We are the people who have taken a vow to protect and serve, but it’s hard to protect because our communities are just awash in guns.
“We cannot have military-style weapons and other things like ghost guns (without serial numbers) out there. To think that can happen and that we can still protect you is just a fantasy. There are simply too many guns.”
Santarsiero is also the prime sponsor of bills requiring universal background checks (SB 88), safe storage of firearms (SB 581 and 582) as well as a bill to repeal Pennsylvania’s “Stand your Ground” law (SB 546).
He urged residents to elect lawmakers of any party who will support reasonable gun control measures. Santarsiero, a Democrat, added he hoped the latest mass shootings will outrage the public enough so it will hold all elected officials accountable for how they stand on gun control.
“The time for talking is at an end,” he said. “The time now is to act.”

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