Zabel stands with Gov. Wolf after executive order to curb gun violence

HARRISBURG, Aug. 16 – State Rep. Mike Zabel, D-Delaware, joined Gov. Tom Wolf and several fellow legislators today in a Capitol news conference as Wolf announced an executive order of sweeping reform targeting the public health crisis of gun violence.

Wolf’s executive order includes the implementation of a Special Counsel on Gun Violence, new oversight and data sharing and increased efforts to reduce community gun violence, combat mass shootings and halt domestic violence-related and self-inflicted shootings.

“I wish it didn’t require an executive order, but nevertheless I proudly stood with Governor Wolf as he outlined his plan to fix our weak gun laws and reduce the everyday danger. We need to do more to protect Pennsylvanians, and this action gets us off to a good start.”

Zabel and many of his House Democratic colleagues have introduced a plethora of bills this year aimed at reducing gun violence. Many of those bills, including H.B. 1527, sit in the House Judiciary Committee.

H.B. 1527, with Zabel as the primary sponsor, would ban “ghost gun” parts. Under existing law, a person who cannot legally own a gun may still purchase parts that do not require a background check or proper paperwork and then assemble an untraceable, or “ghost,” gun that is nearly impossible for law enforcement to track.

“These gaps in Pennsylvania law allow the high demand for untraceable guns and gun parts to be met without any oversight,” Zabel said when introducing this bill. “This legislation would close these loopholes by prohibiting the purchase, sale and production of ghost gun parts.”

Zabel also introduced H.B. 162, which is a bill that would reduce straw purchases and the illegal handgun trade in Pennsylvania. That bill, too, sits in the House Judiciary Committee.

 “These bills that we’ve introduced have never been about abolishing one’s Second Amendment rights,” Zabel said. “We’re not out to ‘take your guns,’ which is an outright falsehood pushed by the NRA and the politicians it controls. What we’re desperately trying to do is reduce gun violence, eliminate mass shootings, curtail accidental shootings and suicide by firearms, and keep our communities safer.

“To do that, we need sweeping reform in multiple arenas. And one arena where we can make an impact now is making public safety a priority by calling for a federal assault weapons ban, passing safe storage legislation and the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, and guaranteeing universal background checks by the Pennsylvania State Police on all gun purchases. Governor Wolf’s executive order gets us started on the path to increased safety. It’s up to us to continue this fight.”

Zabel is a freshman representative serving the 163rd Legislative District in Delaware County. He serves on the House Judiciary Committee, among others, and has long been committed to gun safety reform through universal background checks, bans on bump stocks, high-capacity magazines and assault weapons, and restrictions on domestic abusers and the mentally ill from obtaining firearms.