Pa.’s Democratic-controlled House passed 2 gun safety laws. Now it’s in the Senate’s hands

Working on a solution to gun violence and want to share it? Get in touch with gun violence prevention reporters Sammy Caiola and Sam Searles.

Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Matthew Bradford (D., Montgomery) visited his alma mater at Villanova University Monday night to lay out legislative solutions to the gun violence crisis.

He joined advocates from host organization Ceasefire PA and representative Lisa Borowski to call on Senate leadership to put two gun bills on the Senate calendar.

House Bill 714 would require background checks for all gun sales. Current law exempts certain guns sold by private citizens. House Bill 1018 would allow loved ones or law enforcement to seek the temporary removal of a gun, but only a judge can grant the removal by deciding that the gun owner is at risk of harming themselves or others.

Both bills passed the House with bipartisan support in May and now await hearings in the Senate judiciary committee.

“We haven’t seen meaningful gun safety legislation until what we passed in the House for the better part of a decade now,” Bradford said.

About 40 people attended a town hall on gun violence prevention at Villanova University hosted by CeaseFirePA and Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Matthew Bradford. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

For the first time since 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Democrats occupy the majority of seats in the Pennsylvania House. The reconfiguration happened earlier this year after a trio of special election wins.

Senate Majority Leader Lisa Baker, (R., Luzerne) chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was not available for an interview. Her communications team pointed WHYY News to Baker’s previous comments on these two bills.

“What I am looking for in potentially considering any gun-related bills is full enforceability and ensuring due process as to not conflict with constitutional protections.”

The Pennsylvania Senate reconvenes on Sept. 18. If the bills don’t get a hearing by the end of this year, they will need to be reintroduced at the start of the next legislative session in 2025.

Bradford says if these bills stall, the tally of gun deaths will keep rising – be that homicides in the City of Philadelphia or firearm suicides in rural PA.

“That reality will weigh heavily on those who sat on their hands,” he said.

  • August 15, 2023
  • Articles,
  • This post was written by