Frankel hosts policy hearing on gun violence

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 13 – State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee meeting at the University of Pittsburgh, William Pitt Union Ballroom.

Frankel requested the hearing to discuss gun violence impacting communities across the commonwealth from a public health perspective.

“Once we recognize a public health crisis in our Commonwealth, we can act on it. We’ve seen that with opioids. We’ve seen it with Lyme Disease,” said Frankel. “Unfortunately, too much of the discussion about gun violence has been about restricting or protecting gun ownership, and not enough discussion has focused on the actual health impact of easy access to these weapons.”

Frankel has proposed legislation which would allow local governments to pass their own firearms ordinances, toughen the state’s hate crime laws and strengthen gun safety policies at the state and local level.

“Today was constructive,” Frankel said. “We heard from a number of experts and others who helped us understand what bullets can do to the human body, the family unit, the neighborhood and the state of Pennsylvania. We were able to hear from people who are in our communities, working to save lives and addressing the overwhelming damage left in the wake of every incidence of gun violence.

“It is more clear than ever that there are legislative remedies that could stop the spread of gun violence and protect communities from the trauma that accompanies every gun shot. We will not stop talking about these issues until our Republican colleagues join us in finding legislative solutions to this public health crisis.”

Testifiers included Dr. John Rozel, Medical Director of Re:Solve Crisis Service, and President American Association for Emergency Psychiatry; Dr. Raquel Forsythe, Director of Trauma, UPMC Presbyterian; Dr. Deborah Moss, Pediatrician and President of the PA Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics; Heath Johnson, Crime Analysis Coordinator, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police; Ross Watson, Violence Prevention Program Manager, Allegheny County Health Department; Councilperson Erika Strassburger, District 8, Pittsburgh City Council; Pete Albert, Suicide Prevention Coordinator, VA Butler Healthcare; Lee Davis, Life Coach and Violence Interrupter, University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health – Violence Prevention Initiative; and Nicole Molinaro, President/CEO, Women’s Center & Shelter of Great Pittsburgh.