Kinsey: We have the legislation; we just need a vote for sensible gun reform

HARRISBURG, Aug. 9 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, today said the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, represent the latest examples of the need to address gun violence in Pennsylvania and across the nation.

“The heinous acts in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio are reprehensible,” Kinsey said. “It is an absolute disservice to Pennsylvanians and to all Americans for lawmakers, who are charged with ensuring their safety, to sit idle while we watch more lives claimed by gun violence.

“While the nation’s attention remains fixated on these latest events, we must also include the shootings that have happened here in Pennsylvania. Less than a year ago, 11 were killed because of their religion while worshipping at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. And in Philadelphia, there have been six mass shootings so far this year, resulting in two deaths and 30 people injured, along with the daily shootings. Incidents like these must be recognized in the same vein of mass shootings that have garnered national attention. Residents living in these communities plagued with gun violence shouldn’t discount their anguish and fear because it’s supposedly typical for the area. They must know that their grief also matters!

“The cycle of rehashed conversations on gun reform, thoughts and prayers, and the collective psychological trauma of a nation that has internalized this violence as normal, will continue as long as inaction persists. The other pressing issue is Americans who have been especially named as targets because of their ethnicity and skin color. We must call these shootings done in the name of white supremacy exactly what they are- domestic terrorism.”

Kinsey echoed Gov. Tom Wolf’s sentiments in a recent tweet that read: We can ban assault weapons and institute stricter background checks, target white nationalism and promote tolerance and invest in mental health care to help those who are struggling; but we must not accept this violence as normal.

Kinsey also stressed that there are currently more than two dozen bills that could be voted on as immediate as today and each would address the various root causes of the gun violence epidemic.

“The legislation already exists; it just requires a vote,” Kinsey said. “We have had enough thoughts and prayers and we certainly have had enough of these discussions. We need action!”