FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Rep. W. Curtis Thomas
Thomas bills would address gun violence
HARRISBURG, May 27 – State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas, D-Phila., said three bills he authored to reduce and prevent gun violence were the focus of a House Judiciary Committee hearing this week.
House Bill 1043 would establish the Bureau of Illegal Firearms Trafficking within the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. Currently, there is no state program aimed at monitoring illegal firearms trafficking.
House Bill 1044 would allow local governments to petition the Pennsylvania State Police commissioner for authority to pass local firearms regulations. The bill would bring Pennsylvania law in line with a history of decisions in Commonwealth Court that allowed local governments to deviate from the state Uniform Firearms Act of 1995.
House Bill 1045 would prohibit the conversion of semiautomatic weapons into assault weapons. At issue is the modification of rifles to hold external magazines.
"There is no reason why anyone should bring a weapon with a 30-round clip into a residential neighborhood," Thomas said.
Thomas said that, after much debate, his bills were not approved by a committee majority.
"While I am disappointed that my bills were not advanced, I am grateful to Chairman Caltagirone for the opportunity to discuss my legislation. I would also like to thank Representatives Caltagirone, Drucker, Harper, Lentz, Manderino, Shapiro, Vitali, Wagner and Waters for their votes in favor of my legislation," Thomas said. "I will continue to aggressively address the issue of gun violence until the Pennsylvania House of Representatives addresses the concerns of residents who are demanding that we do something about straw purchases, lost and stolen guns, and assault weapons."
Thomas said he particularly thinks he will garner support for H.B. 1044 considering that the courts have already upheld the constitutionality of 37 local gun ordinances.
"Right now, municipalities' hands are tied by the PA Uniform Firearms Law. I think it's just a matter of time until my bill becomes law," Thomas said.