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Pennsylvania Moms, Survivors of Domestic Violence Praise Lawmakers for Introducing Bill that Would Keep Guns Out of the Hands of Abusers

Legislation Would Close Loophole that Currently Makes it Easy for Certain Convicted Domestic Abusers to Keep Their Guns

HARRISBURG, PA– Members of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and the Everytown Survivor Network, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today praised Pennsylvania State Senator Patricia Vance and other lawmakers for introducing bipartisan legislation aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. If passed, the measure would close loopholes that, under current law, stop short of requiring convicted domestic abusers to relinquish their guns.

Current Pennsylvania law allows judges to determine whether a convicted abuser should be prohibited from possessing guns. Keystone State law runs counter to federal law, however, which bars abusers who have been subject to final protective orders from possessing guns. If passed, Senate Bill 1182 would bring Pennsylvania in line with federal standards. The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence is spearheading efforts at passing this legislation.

STATEMENT FROM HOLLIE AYERS, MEMBER OF EVERYTOWN SURVIVOR NETWORK AND PENNSYLVANIA RESIDENT:

“The introduction of this bill is deeply personal to me. In March of 2013, my husband shot me in the legs three times and killed my two-year-old boy, Michael. I had taken out a restraining order on him, but the judge never required my then-husband to turn in his weapons. Had a commonsense law like this one been in place three years ago, my child might not have been killed.

“We know keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers helps keep women and children safe. That is why it is so critically important that abusers be required to turn in their guns after they have been convicted. It has been three years since my life was shattered by an abuser who got his hands on a gun. As I’ve worked to put the pieces back together, I have vowed that Michael’s death cannot be in vain. I have resolved to do everything in my power to ensure that no other woman or child endures a similar fate. This bill represents an important part of that journey.

“I’m hopeful that the legislature will close these deadly loopholes and, perhaps in doing so, bring just a measure of solace to the saddest, most heartbreaking chapter in my life.”

STATEMENT FROM DEB MARTESLO, VOLUNTEER WITH THE PENNSYLVANIA CHAPTER OF MOMS DEMAND ACTION FOR GUN SENSE IN AMERICA

“Forty-eight percent of women shot to death in Pennsylvania are killed by intimate partners. What’s more, states that restrict access to firearms for those under protection orders see a 25 percent drop in intimate partner gun homicides. It is time for Pennsylvania to get in line on this issue and the introduction of this legislation is an encouraging step in the right direction.”

This bill has generated support from both sides of the aisle, most notably from Senator Vance, a Republican. Deliberations on the legislation are expected to begin soon.