Warren: State House passes gun background-check bill, red-flag legislation

HARRISBURG, May 23 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives on Monday passed historic legislation that would expand background checks for firearm purchases and provide emergency protection for gun owners who are at risk of harming themselves or others, said state Rep. Perry Warren, who sponsored the background-check bill.

The bills, which are now with the Senate for consideration, are:

  • H.B. 714 to enact universal background checks, passed 109-92.
  • H.B. 1018 to create extreme risk protection orders, passed 102-99.

“It has been a long time coming, but with a new direction in Harrisburg, we took two really big steps this week toward better protecting the public in the face of a growing gun violence epidemic,” said Warren, D-Bucks. “I’m proud to have sponsored the universal background check bill and happy to see it received bipartisan support in the House. We have a responsibility as representatives to do everything we can to make gun sales the safest and most comprehensive they can be in Pennsylvania."

Federal and current state laws require checks for most sales by licensed gun dealers, but they do not cover all types of guns or those sold by unlicensed sellers, including online, at shows and to strangers. Warren’s bill would require checks on all avenues of sales and for long-barrel firearms, as well.

“I hope that the Senate has the foresight to move this popular and much-needed legislation on to the governor’s desk for his signature,” Warren said. “The faster we get House Bill 714 passed, the more lives we save.”

Warren also voted to allow courts to issue extreme risk protection orders under H.B. 1018 introduced by state Rep. Jennifer O'Mara, D-Delaware, in cases involving gun owners who are determined to be a risk to themselves or others.

Every year, more than 1,500 Pennsylvanians are killed with guns, and over 3,000 more are wounded. According to Everytown for Gun Safety, when Connecticut passed a law requiring background checks, its firearm homicide rate decreased by 40% and its firearm suicide rate decreased by 15%.

“Studies show that background checks save lives.” Warren said. “We have a meaningful, historic opportunity to prevent deaths by gun at a time when the crime is growing rapidly. Let’s encourage the Senate to arrive at the same conclusion – and make this bill law.”