Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus calls for Legislature to take action, pass gun safety legislation following continued national tragedies

HARRISBURG, April 17 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus is calling on the General Assembly to act and pass gun safety legislation following multiple mass shootings across the nation and the unjust expulsion of two legislators, and the attempted expulsion of a third, in Tennessee for so-called “disorderly behavior” following their protest in favor of gun reform in the Tennessee House chamber.

Today they joined Black legislators across the nation in decrying the parliamentary rules and procedures Republican majorities are using – or abusing – to stifle Black voices and avoid holding votes on the issues people want addressed, such as gun violence, but that they and their big moneyed backers don’t like. 

According to PLBC Chair Donna Bullock, D-Phila., Republican legislators in Tennessee thought they could hide behind the veil of rules and procedure when expelling Rep. Justin Jones, D-Nashville, and Rep. Justin Pearson, D-Memphis, but the racist undertones prompting their expulsion were obvious. People should look no further than the recently leaked video of Tennessee Republican lawmakers discussing the vote, she said.

In recent weeks, the nation has been shocked by the news of not one, but two mass shootings occurring at a school in Nashville, TN and a bank in Louisville, KY. A total of 11 people combined lost their lives in these shooting sprees. PLBC lawmakers are saying enough is enough, and that Pennsylvania and legislatures across the nation must act now to protect children and all who simply want to make it home safely to their families.

“We here in Pennsylvania are all too familiar with the tactics that the opponents of gun safety employ to avoid acting — crushing bills in committees that have wide public support, gutting bills brought to a vote with heinous amendments and denying the intent of discharge resolutions,” Bullock said.

“It is disappointing that we are still having these national conversations on passing comprehensive gun safety legislation after countless innocent lives have been lost because of gun violence. How many more lives must we lose before we as legislators decide to enact laws to protect our constituents?”

“It doesn’t have to be this way,” Bullock continued. “We can and will effect real change and stop the onslaught of gun violence across the nation, across Pennsylvania and in our cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, but it takes all of us and it takes courage. It takes the courage to stand up for what is right in the face of every headwind against us. That is exactly what we will do this session.”

Bullock said the PLBC stands with its fellow state legislators, the Tennessee 3, and shares their desire to pass gun safety legislation in Pennsylvania and beyond.