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Pennsylvania Moms Demand Action, Everytown, City Council Members and Advocates Urge Pennsylvania Lawmakers to Pass Life-Saving Domestic Violence Legislation

City Council Members, Community Leaders Support Senate Bill 501, Which Would Require All Abusers Subject to Final Protective Orders to Turn in Their Guns

82 Percent of Pennsylvanians, 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

PITTSBURGH – Volunteers with the Pennsylvania chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, Pittsburgh City Council members Corey O’Connor and Natalia Rudiak; chief program officer at Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, Nicole Molinaro Karaczun; and the pastor at Sixth Presbyterian Church, NAME, today urged Pennsylvania lawmakers to pass Senate Bill 501, legislation that would protect Pennsylvania families by requiring all domestic abusers subject to final protection from abuse orders to surrender their guns. The bill would also shorten the current 60-day period convicted domestic abusers have to surrender their guns to 24 hours.

According to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, over the last decade, firearms have accounted for more than half of all domestic violence-related homicides in the state. And research from Everytown for Gun Safety shows that only 14 percent of final protection from abuse orders issued in Pennsylvania from 2011 through 2015 required that firearms be turned in.

Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and the Pennsylvania chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown, today released a new poll showing a strong majority of Pennsylvania voters support legislation that protects women and families. The polling found, among other results, that:

  • 82 percent of likely Pennsylvania voters, 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.
  • 76 percent of likely Pennsylvania voters, including 78 percent of gun-owning households, support requiring anyone convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence or subject to a domestic violence protection order to turn in any guns they have to law enforcement or a licensed dealer.

“Guns and domestic violence are a deadly combination, with firearms accounting for more than half of domestic violence killings in our state,” said Shirl Regan, president and CEO of Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh. “SB 501 will close dangerous gaps in our law that allow convicted abusers and those under final protective orders to keep their guns. Too many Pennsylvanians and people in Pittsburgh live in fear of a domestic abuser, and we should do everything we can to ensure that their abusers aren’t armed. We urge the legislature to protect Pennsylvania families and stand with survivors by passing SB 501.”

“SB 501 is necessary legislation in the way of gun regulation and victim protection,” said Councilmember Corey O’Connor. “Not only will it strengthen existing legislation, but it will close dangerous gaps that leave victims of domestic violence, as well as the law enforcement officers who respond to those calls, exposed. I stand with survivors of domestic violence, law enforcement and community organizations in asking state lawmakers to pass SB 501 to protect our families on the front line.”

“Domestic violence is an extreme violation of the dignity and humanity of a person, and too many of our friends, family and congregants have suffered or died because of their abusers,” said Pastor Vincent Kolb. “We should do everything we can to help ensure fewer families experience that trauma by keeping guns out of the hands of people who have acted violently and abusively with dangerous consequences.”

“Every day, families across our state are forced to live in fear of an abuser returning with a gun to inflict unspeakable violence upon them. However, we have the power to change the course of this narrative,” said Jenna Paulat, volunteer with the Pennsylvania chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Today, at this very moment, we have the ability to save countless lives for generations to come. The time to protect Pennsylvania’s families is now. Let’s work together to pass S.B. 501.”