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Pennsylvania Moms Demand Action, Everytown, State Senator McGarrigle, District Attorney Whelan and Advocates Urge Pennsylvania Lawmakers to Pass Life-saving Domestic Violence Legislation

State Senator McGarrigle, District Attorney Whelan 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

MEDIA, Pa. – Volunteers with the Pennsylvania chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, State Senator Tom McGarrigle, executive director at Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County Kathy Stone, and Delaware County district attorney Jack Whelan, today urged Pennsylvania legislators to pass Senate Bill 501, legislation which 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.

“When victims of domestic violence have the courage to ask for help, we have to be ready to answer that call. But right now, we’re falling short of that duty,” said State Senator Tom McGarrigle. “It’s time to do more to ensure that convicted domestic abusers and those under final protection from abuse orders aren’t able to access firearms that they can use to terrorize, intimidate and harm families across our state. I am proud to join Sen. Killion, law enforcement, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Moms Demand Action, and community leaders across the state this week in sponsoring this lifesaving legislation.”

“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,” said District Attorney Jack Whelan. “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.”

“Firearms in the hands of abusers can be a deadly combination: When a gun is present in a domestic violence situation, a woman is five times more likely to be killed,” said Kathy Stone, executive director at the Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County. “There is no excuse for allowing dangerous abusers under final protection orders or those convicted of domestic violence crimes to access guns that can be used to intimidate, threaten and harm their victims. Primary prevention cannot be an afterthought. The Domestic Abuse Project supports SB 501; it’s time for the legislature to act and pass this bill.”

“I urge our lawmakers to join us in this fight to protect lives,” said Melissa Carden, a volunteer with the Pennsylvania chapter of Moms Demand Action. “This is not a partisan issue; it is a human issue. No woman or child should fear for their lives, because of inadequate laws.”