HARRISBURG, Pa. — On Tuesday, anti- gun violence organizations and religious lawmakers called on republican state lawmakers to take action against gun violence.
"Shame on the republican majority for not seeing the fact that people in Pennsylvania want change," said Democrat Senator Vincent Hughes.
The call comes as Wednesday marks 3 years since the Tree of Life Synagogue mass shooting in Pittsburgh.
On October 27th 2018, a lone gunman went inside the religious building and opened fire. 11 people were killed and 6 others were injured.
" At vigils we pray that enough is enough and something must be done, words of solidarity and declaration are not enough." said Rabbi Ron Muroff.
Since then, the Wolf administration said nearly 5,000 more Pennsylvanians have died from guns and claims two proposed bills could increase those numbers:
- Senate Bill 448: This bill would allow anyone including out-of-state organizations like the NRA to sue a municipality for enacting a gun law stricter than a state law. The Wolf administration said this could "stall municipalities' efforts to develop innovative solutions to a crisis that is taking the lives of their constituents."
- Senate Bill 565: This bill would allow anyone over the age of 18 to carry a legally concealed firearm in public without a permit. According to Governor Wolf, "dismantling the existing concealed carry permitting system and lowering the age from 21 will make it even easier for potential shooters to enter public spaces without being noticed."
The GOP House Caucus responded with a statement saying:
"While we are all remembering the horrific events of the Tree of Life shooting this week, it is important to remember Pennsylvania already has one of the most comprehensive hate crimes laws in the country. This week, the House Republican Caucus began focusing on and moving legislation to improve mental health treatment, which will enable people to get the help they need before they contemplate or commit heinous acts of violence.
“What Gov. Wolf needs to remember is that Pennsylvania already has some of the most stringent gun background check laws in the country and very rarely are crimes committed by gun owners who are carrying and using guns legally. New gun laws will only lead to more opportunities for illegal gun use and will do little to prevent the senseless tragedies that have recently occurred. Even more troubling is that Democrat prosecutors in places like Philadelphia are not enforcing gun laws already on the books, which is something that should be done before more restrictions on Pennsylvanians’ constitutional rights are contemplated.” - Jason Gottesman, Press Secretary to the House Majority Leader.
As the State Senate prepares to vote on those two bills, Governor Wolf says if they should pass, he plans to veto them.