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Pennsylvania Moms Demand Action, Everytown, Mayor Norley, Law Enforcement and Advocates Urge Pennsylvania Lawmakers to Pass Life-saving Domestic Violence Legislation

DV Prevention Advocates 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

WEST CHESTER, Pa. – Volunteers with the Pennsylvania chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety; member of the Domestic Violence Coalition of Chester County, Dr. Dolly Wagman-Scott; President of Chester County Police Chiefs Association, Shane Clark; and Chester County domestic violence prosecutions chief and Deputy District Attorney, today urged Pennsylvania legislators 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, this week 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.

“The chiefs and officers of Chester County work tirelessly to protect the people we serve, and when coming to the aid of domestic violence victims, an armed domestic abuser increases the chance that these encounters will end tragically for families and law enforcement,” said Shane Clark, president of the Chester County Police Chiefs Association. “Our great commonwealth should close the gaps in state law that make it easier for domestic abusers to get their hands on firearms. I urge the legislature to pass SB501 to protect Pennsylvania families and the law enforcement officers who respond to their calls for help.”

“Over the past decade, firearms have accounted for more than half of domestic violence killings in our state, said Dolly Wagman-Scott, member of the Domestic Violence Coalition of Chester County. “Dangerous gaps in our law allow convicted abusers and those under final protective orders to keep their guns with terrifying consequences for Pennsylvania families. The safety of domestic violence victims must be a priority and we are asking the legislature to require abusers to turn in their guns within 24 hours and pass SB 501.”

“Pennsylvania has gone long enough without comprehensive legislation that would save the lives of women and children in our state,” said Laura Fletcher, a volunteer with the Pennsylvania chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We cannot wait a moment longer. Our state has a strong history of responsible gun ownership and common-sense gun laws. We urge our lawmakers to continue upholding this legacy by passing this bill, and letting Pennsylvanians know that public safety is their number one priority.”