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State legislators promote gun safety on Parkland anniversary


On the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., state Sen. Steve Santarsiero (D-10), state Rep. Perry Warren (D-31), and former state Rep. Helen Tai joined students and gun safety advocates in front of Council Rock North High School to call for the passage of safe storage firearm legislation.

Santarsiero is the primary sponsor of Senate Bills 137 and 138. SB 137 requires the safe storage of a firearm when the gun owner resides with a person who may not lawfully possess a firearm; SB 138 requires safe storage regardless of who resides with the gun owner.

“I know this has been a long and often frustrating road for those of us who have been working on this issue for years now. But as we stand here today on the first anniversary of the shooting in Parkland, Fla., we must rededicate ourselves to this task. There have been 377 mass shootings since then, 20 alone here in Pennsylvania, including the murders at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Enough is enough,” he said.

In the House, Rep. Warren introduced HB 532, which mirrors Santarsiero’s SB 137.

“It’s time to stop this culture of gun violence,” Warren said. “It’s time to take concrete steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who will do with them harm.”

Tai, who championed safe storage legislation while in the House last year, spoke about the widespread support for gun safety legislation and the local impact of not having these laws in place.

“The overwhelming number of Americans and Pennsylvanians want common sense gun safety laws passed,” Tai said. “These laws would prevent countless children from accidental deaths or shootings and would’ve prevented Cosmo DiNardo, who was legally banned from possessing a firearm, from using his mother’s gun to murder four young men.”

Samantha Duckworth, a senior at Council Rock High School North, talked about her experiences as a young student growing up around the constant school shootings across the country.

“It’s scary to go to school,” Duckworth said. “It’s scary to live with the fear that you might get gunned down one day in your classroom. A year ago at Parkland, something changed for a lot of students. We saw ourselves in the faces of the students who died that day. Marjory Stoneman Douglas School is a lot like Council Rock North. The teachers there are a lot like our teachers, the students there are a lot like our students, and the classes they have there are a lot like our classes, so that day for a lot of us we realized this really can happen to us.”