HARRISBURG, Pa. – Today the Pennsylvania chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released a list of “78 Reasons We Can’t Wait” to pass SB 501/HB 2060 in advance of the House Judiciary Committee meeting tomorrow. With summer break fast approaching, advocates are highlighting 78 personal testimonials from Pennsylvanians across the state – one testimonial for each of the 78 Pennsylvanians who were shot and killed last year in domestic violence-related incidents. The testimonials include include responses from survivors of domestic abuse, state legislators, mayors, law enforcement officials and advocates regarding the importance of passing this vital legislation immediately.
Volunteers with the Pennsylvania chapter of Moms Demand Action shared the reasons with legislators today at the Statehouse. Additionally, a video of domestic violence survivors has been released that features volunteers with the Pennsylvania chapter of Moms Demand Action highlighting some of the most powerful reasons why they support the legislation and urges lawmakers to pass this bill quickly.
Some of the reasons, a complete list of which is available here, include:
- “My legislation will keep guns out of the hands of abusers and provide much-needed protections for victims of domestic violence. That’s just common sense. It will save lives – the lives of women, children, law enforcement, and Pennsylvanians across the state, and we should all continue working together to get this done as soon as possible.” – Pennsylvania State Senator Tom Killion (R-9), SB 501 bill sponsor
- “Domestic violence is a threat to the safety of the families of Delaware County. Survivors of abuse live in fear and law enforcement officers know that domestic violence calls are among the most dangerous they encounter. Our office works every day to prosecute abusers and protect their victims from further harm. The legislature should pass SB 501 to help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous abusers and empower courts and law enforcement to prosecute domestic abusers who violate our laws.” – John J. “Jack” Whelan, Delaware County Office of the District Attorney
- “Two reasons: First, I’m a survivor of extreme domestic violence. Second, my nephew was killed in Las Vegas.” – Lisa, Cumberland County
SB 501/HB 2060 would protect survivors of domestic abuse by prohibiting all abusers who are subject to final protection from abuse orders from possessing guns and requiring them to turn in their guns while the order is in effect. The bill includes other protections to ensure that abusers who are convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence – who are already prohibited from having guns under Pennsylvania law – surrender their firearms quickly and securely. The bill passed the Senate unanimously in March, but has languished in the House.
Guns and domestic violence are a deadly – and all too common – combination. The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that a woman will be killed. Guns are the weapon of choice for abusers. According to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, firearms are used in the clear majority of domestic violence related fatalities in Pennsylvania – nearly 60 percent.
Furthermore, Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly support the policy: 82 percent of likely voters in Pennsylvania – including 88 percent of gun-owning households – support prohibiting anyone convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence or subject to a domestic violence protection order from purchasing a gun, while 76 percent of Pennsylvanians agree that those same abusers should be required to turn in the guns they already own to law enforcement or a licensed gun dealer.
STATEMENT FROM DEB MARTESLO, VOLUNTEER LEADER WITH THE PENNSYLVANIA CHAPTER OF MOMS DEMAND ACTION FOR GUN SENSE IN AMERICA:
“No one should have to live in fear of an abuser with a gun. Lawmakers will soon adjourn for summer break and it is absolutely ridiculous that a bill to protect domestic violence survivors and their families may not pass before the break. Unfortunately, domestic violence doesn’t take a break for summer, which is why we need to pass this bill now. We encourage all Pennsylvanians to tell lawmakers why they need to #ProtectPAfamilies and pass this legislation. This cannot wait, lives are on the line.”