PA SAFE Caucus lauds Supreme Court decision on guns, domestic abusers

HARRISBURG, June 28 – Members of the House PA SAFE Caucus, a group of Pennsylvania legislators working together to reduce all types of violence, today expressed support for the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Monday to uphold a lower court’s ruling prohibiting domestic abusers from purchasing or possessing guns.

 

State Reps. Madeleine Dean, D-Montgomery, and Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, co-chairmen of the PA SAFE Caucus, said that the ruling reflects the will of a growing majority of Americans who believe there should be commonsense limitations on criminals’ ability to own or purchase guns.

 

“If you abuse your spouse or children, you should not have easy access to a gun,” Dean said. “It is a fact that the presence of a gun alone is far too dangerous of a variable in volatile domestic relationships involving a convicted abuser.

 

“In 2015, 113 victims of domestic violence were killed in Pennsylvania alone. That is 113 too many. The Supreme Court’s decision will undoubtedly save lives.”

 

According to the American Journal of Public Health, access to firearms increases the risk of intimate partner homicide more than five times more than in instances where there are no weapons.

 

The court ruling also gives hope to legislators who sponsor bills that deal with the dangerous interplay among menace, violence and gun ownership. Pennsylvania’s H.B. 1030, for instance, would give family members or friends the chance to petition a court to temporarily take guns away from someone who may not have a mental diagnosis but is clearly in extraordinary and dangerous distress. This is an important “see something — say something measure,” said Dean, sponsor of the bill.

 

Frankel said, “The Supreme Court decision this week gives rise to what we hope is a new awakening to commonsense gun-safety answers in the debate that has gripped the country. The reality is that dangerous people with guns kill innocent people, and Monday’s decision upholding that fact helps clear the path to meaningful and strong gun-safety reform.”