Schweyer: Majority party tactics on gun bills are shameful, dangerous
HARRISBURG, June 22 – In response to the House Judiciary Committee’s political maneuver on his legislation and other tactics on bills to address gun violence in Pennsylvania, state Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, issued the following statement today:
“It has become quite clear with this week’s move and previous procedures earlier this month with other commonsense gun legislation that the Republican majority cares more about the gun lobby than saving Pennsylvania lives.
“Tragically, we are seeing more shootings happen across the country with the same type of military-style rifles being used by the perpetrators and more victims being tragically killed or having to live with wounds for the rest of their lives. We cannot live in a society that accepts mass shootings as a norm and we cannot become complacent. The violence must stop.
“I have said gun reform is one of my biggest issues as both a legislator and a parent. After witnessing the horrific and tragic images from the Uvalde, Texas, shooting last month, where an 18-year old purchased two AR-15 rifles and thousands of rounds of ammunition for his birthday and massacred 19 elementary schoolchildren and two teachers, and a similar tragic story that unfolded in Buffalo, N.Y., where another 18-year-old legally purchased his AR-15 and took a 200-mile trip to the Topps Supermarket and murdered 10 people, it's well past time to act on commonsense gun reform measures.
"These mass murders would have been prevented in Pennsylvania under H.B. 717, but on Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee, ahead of the opportunity to bring the bill to the full House, voted along party lines to replace the language in favor of language that would eliminate the already required background checks for someone to have a concealed carry license.
"In response to that move in the Judiciary Committee, during Tuesday’s session I executed my discharge resolution on the now recently amended bill, so that the whole body can be counted on where they stand on the issue of gun violence.
“Pennsylvanians deserve to see how their state representatives vote on the issue of gun safety. Does their state representative stand with the 75% of Pennsylvanians who support raising this age? Does that state representative stand with the families whose lives were so tragically ruined? Does that state representative stand for common sense and action?
“I had also drafted an amendment that would restore the original intent of H.B. 717 of raising the legal age to possess or purchase a military style assault weapon from 18 to 21. However, disappointingly, but not surprisingly, the discharge resolution attempt also failed along party lines with the majority choosing not to allow the bill to come out of committee.
“This is a serious issue that will not go away simply by inaction or shady practices and I invite my Republican colleagues to come to the table and have the discussions with us. Work with us, find the compromises that will lead to the solutions to save lives, because the violence cannot continue.”