Frankel, Fontana speak out on need for gun reform at local level

Join state and city leaders, advocates and victims calling for commonsense measures to stem violence

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 14 – Speaking at a news conference today, state Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, called for commonsense gun reforms at the local level and highlighted the need to empower Pittsburgh city officials to enact those measures.

Joining Frankel at the event to call for local gun reform were state Sen. Wayne Fontana, D-Allegheny, Gov. Tom Wolf, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, city council members, gun safety advocates, gun violence victims and concerned residents.

“We’re tired of inaction and stonewalling at the state level as residents continue to die in gun violence and mass shootings like the Tree of Life massacre,” Frankel said. “Our neighbors are demanding stronger protections from weapons, but our elected leaders’ hands are tied by provisions in state laws designed to block local action. That’s why I’m introducing legislation this week that would eliminate those provisions and pave the way for commonsense gun reform.

“We can’t afford to wait any longer to protect residents and stem the violence. Other cities have acted to create local regulations for firearms. It’s time to act, before more lives are lost.”

Fontana lauded renewed efforts by city officials and community activists to pass proposals similar to measures he recently introduced on the state level. They include bills that would ban assault weapons and allow family members or law enforcement to petition to have a gun owner’s firearm access temporarily suspended where there is evidence of a threat of harm.

“The activism from our Pittsburgh community, like that of so many others that have been affected by gun violence throughout our nation, is both inspiring and encouraging and can only help to amplify America’s growing outrage and demand for gun reform,” Fontana said. “The common-sense reforms we are advocating are at the heart of what the vast majority of our citizens are so desperately seeking.”

Robert Bowers, the gunman who massacred 11 people in the Tree of Life shooting, reportedly used an AR-15 assault rifle and three Glock .357 handguns, all legally purchased, according to authorities.

Frankel is scheduled speak Friday evening at an event honoring victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that took place six years ago today. The memorial will be held at 7 p.m. at the Heinz Memorial Chapel.