Pennsylvania needs to act to stem gun violence
As we begin a new legislative session, I cannot help but look back on 2012 and mourn the loss of so many innocent lives due to gun violence.
It seemed like every corner of our great nation was affected by a shooting in cold blood. I will continue to pray for the families of those who have lost loved ones, but I also renew my pledge to do my part to end the violence once and for all.
The vice president’s gun commission made some very important strides in moving the conversation on responsible gun ownership in America.
His proposals to implement more widespread background checks, limit high-capacity ammunition cartridges, and ban assault rifles are excellent first steps; however, we cannot wait for Congress to solve our problems. We must act here in Pennsylvania, too.
Last session, we passed a ban on straw purchases of guns in Pennsylvania. Under this measure, individuals may no longer purchase large quantities of guns and turn around and sell them on the street.
This is one of many initiatives to ensure that illegal guns don’t end up in the wrong hands.
During my tenure in the Senate, I have fought to end gun violence.
Through Senate Bill 191, my initiative to limit handgun purchases to one per person per month, I aim to find reasonable limits for responsible gun owners, while still limiting the amount of black market firearms deals that plague our streets.
I have introduced this bill every year that I have been a legislator, and will not stop until it is passed.
This limitation is just one step to protect our children, clean up our streets, and allow honest, law-abiding citizens to still own guns.
Year after year, opponents of this legislation have criticized my proposal, inaccurately accusing my legislation of restricting Second Amendment rights.
And year after year, I ask the same questions: What reasonable sportsman or gun collector needs to buy more than a dozen guns per year? What reasonable family needs to own more than a dozen guns per year?
None that I know of. And I know a lot of people from all walks of life.
The sportsmen I know would never think of putting 30 rounds of ammunition into a prize deer.
The families I know who have handguns for protection don’t need an Ah-47 or sawed off shotgun to ward off intruders.
I am not suggesting that all guns be banned from all people. We must place an emphasis on responsible gun ownership for those who are emotionally and intellectually capable of bearing the responsibility of owning a weapon intended to kill.
In the wake of tragedy, we often gear toward gutcheck reactions, and the Newtown massacre is no different.
However, as we remember the faces of those beautiful little children who will never realize their full potential, we cannot sit idly by and do nothing.
Now is the time for us to unite and act.