Frankel joins Democratic leaders in push to move gun safety bills

Democratic lawmakers file petitions to force votes on gun bills despite entrenched Republican obstructionism

HARRISBURG, May 25 – Tired of the callous lack of action by Republican leaders in the face of rising and increasingly brutal gun violence, today Rep. Dan Frankel joined legislative efforts to force consideration of several bills that would help regulate firearms and protect Pennsylvanians.

The bill package includes his own legislation, which would enable local governments to enact laws to protect their residents.

“Our constituents are begging – begging, for their leaders to help them feel safe from gun violence, and Republicans continue to pretend that ‘nothing can be done,’” said Frankel, chair of the PA Safe Caucus and Democratic Chair of the House Health Committee. “The fact that so little has been done in Pennsylvania to address this growing and terrifying problem undermines the public’s trust in our entire political system.”

Dozens of bills to reduce gun violence have piled up in the House Judiciary Committee, with no hope of consideration even as the number of gun deaths and injuries increase statewide.

Among the four bills that Democrats seek to bring directly to the House floor for a vote using a legislative maneuver known as a discharge petition, is Frankel’s legislation (H.B. 1538), to allow local governments to regulate firearms.

“If this General Assembly will not consider and pass legislation to protect our residents, then it should get out of the way and allow municipalities to act,” Frankel said.

Frankel introduced the legislation after an antisemitic gunman murdered 11 people in his district as they gathered for synagogue in the Tree of Life building in 2018. The City of Pittsburgh’s subsequent attempt to bar weapons of war like the one used in the attack was blocked by Pennsylvania’s statewide restriction on local gun laws.

The discharge petition process is a legislative maneuver that provides a path to allow votes on a bill when the committee it’s assigned to fails to act on it in a reasonable time, often because of the majority chairman’s refusal or indifference. The petitions require at least 25 legislators to sign on to force a vote on removing the bill from that committee.