House Democratic leaders decry Republican inaction on gun safety legislation

Leaders question at what point does continued Republican passivity equal complicity

HARRISBURG, May 26 – PA House Democratic leadership released the following statement today in the wake of the Buffalo supermarket shooting, the Uvalde school shooting and continued Republican obstruction of any debate on commonsense gun violence legislation:

“Tragically, we find ourselves in a continued cycle of inactivity on commonsense gun safety legislation following the death of 10 adults in Buffalo and 19 students and three teachers in Uvalde, Texas. Republican leadership in the House of Representatives has been in near complete control for almost 30 years and they refuse to even allow debate on the most widely supported bipartisan gun safety legislation. They’ve shown that the loss of Pennsylvanians to gun violence, which our own communities experience far too often, isn’t enough to spur them to action. Now we know neither is the massacre of grocery shoppers in Buffalo or innocent children and teachers in Uvalde.

“Yesterday, Republican leadership blocked an attempt to debate legislation banning high-capacity semi-automatic rifles like the weapons used in Buffalo and Uvalde. These are weapons of war so violent that some parents of the children senselessly murdered had to provide DNA samples because that was the only way to identify their child’s body torn apart by bullets. Republican leaders say this bill should be vetted in the Judiciary Committee, yet those same leaders continue to send commonsense reform bills there to languish with a Republican chairman who proudly stated that he will not debate any gun safety legislation. At what point do we acknowledge that this obstructionism is costing the lives of Pennsylvanians and could contribute to the next school shooting in our own state?

“From banning weapons of war to comprehensive background checks on all firearm purchases to an amendment for school safety and gun violence initiatives we added to a bill in committee just yesterday only to have them skip debating the bill, Republicans want nothing to do with it. They want nothing to do with actually helping solve this problem. They want nothing to do with preventing a disaster like Buffalo or Uvalde in Philadelphia or Altoona or Williamsport or Hazleton or any other big city or small town in Pennsylvania.

“In remarks on Wednesday, the Republican leader said it was one of the few times where he felt ‘almost speechless’ and notes ‘the choices of what we do for or against others is a choice.’ We’d like to remind him that his voice is one of the most powerful in the legislature and encourage him to make the choice to do something for the people of Pennsylvania by allowing a debate on gun safety legislation. Otherwise, this gross level of inaction by our state legislature will be at the forefront of the next tragedy in Pennsylvania.”