Wheatley applauds passage of domestic violence legislation

Bill would require those convicted of domestic violence to turn in guns within 24 hours

HARRSIBURG, Sept. 28 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, joined with domestic violence victims and their advocates when he voted in favor of a bill earlier this week that would increase protections for such victims and their families.

House Bill 2060, which passed the House, is designed to strengthen the Protection from Abuse Act by mandating that firearms be forfeited on all final PFA orders – and requiring convicted domestic abusers to turn over their firearms within 24 hours as opposed to 60 days. The legislation also would require defendants to relinquish their weapons to law enforcement officers, an authorized gun dealer, or an attorney; not a family member or friend.

“Victims of domestic violence, both women and men, deserve to be protected and feel safe,” said Wheatley, who is also a member of the PA Safe Caucus, which aims to curb gun violence and promote public safety. “Families do not deserve to live in fear.”

Wheatley, who has been an advocate for commonsense gun reform, said reducing the amount of time – from approximately two months to one day – that convicted abusers have turn over their weapons is a positive step in the right direction.

In 2017, a record number of domestic violence victims were killed by guns, the most in the last 10 years, according to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Out of the 117 domestic violence victims in the commonwealth, 78 were killed by guns.

“We have an obligation to address the gun crisis in America,” Wheatley said. “When firearms end up in the wrong hands, we know things can turn deadly. Domestic violence is a serious problem and while we can’t stop it, we are certainly obligated to do our part in helping to curtail it by removing guns from offenders.”

The bill passed the House 131-62 and now heads to the Senate for consideration.