Over the past few years, we have achieved several important objectives. Although more work remains, we are proud of the changes we have helped bring to Pennsylvania and are confident that this work is making Pennsylvania safer. Together, we will continue the work and succeed in bringing commonsense gun laws to Pennsylvania.
Rally in the Rotunda 2016
CeaseFirePA brought hundreds of Pennsylvanians to Harrisburg to champion the expansion of background checks. Bipartisan sponsors, law enforcement, and survivors spoke in favor of closing Pennsylvania’s loophole that allows the private sale of long guns – rifles, shotguns and semi- automatic rifles without a background check. One Republican lawmaker commented that it was the largest crowd he had ever seen in the Capitol rotunda.
Making Gun Violence a Key Issue
CeaseFire Pennsylvania has worked to make Gun Violence Prevention a key focus of political campaigns throughout the Commonwealth. Through our efforts, two candidates won office by making GVP the center of their races. AG Josh Shapiro and Rep. Comitta took office in 2017 and have vowed to work on GVP measures.
The PA legislature has continuously attempted to eliminate the PA Instant Check System or PICS. PICS is not only supported by the State Police, but is often recognized as one of the only positive gun laws within PA. Through mobilizing our base, and working with allies, we have been able to defeat each attempt to push this dangerous proposal and have in fact had it twice removed from committee agendas.
Guns in School
In 2017, the legislature attempted to enable local school districts to allow teachers and other non-security public school personnel to carry firearms in our schools. Through an aggressive legislative and educational strategy we have been able to fight the bill. Although it passed the Senate, every legislator we targeted, both Republican and Democrat, voted against this dangerous legislation.To ensure this dangerous bill does not rear its head again we are engaging in a public education campaign. This campaign includes a series of videos that have been unveiled and shown across the state.
Act 192 Declared Unconstitutional
After the legislature passed a bill permitting groups like the NRA to sue municipalities, CeaseFirePA began working with attorneys, like-minded legislators, and cities to mount a lawsuit against the general assembly. First the Commonwealth Court and then the PA Supreme Court declared Act 192 void and unconstitutional because of the way it was enacted. This has not stopped the legislature from attempting to resurrect the law, nor lessened our resolve to fight this clearly punitive legislation that is a money grab for gun lobby lawyers and a bullying tactic against cities seeking to keep their communities safe.
We have been engaged with training young people to be advocates for themselves and their communities. Our Pittsburgh-based Motivating Young Citizens Project has educated hundreds of young people about government, policy and advocacy. They have put what they learn into practice, writing opinion pieces, speaking to policy makers and advocating for change. We have visited schools – from elementary to college – throughout PA to empower young people with the tools and resources they need to be strong advocates.
The leadership Institute aims to create better advocates and a more informed citizenry by training participants on a series of topics ranging from specifics of gun violence prevention policies to better understanding the process of the PA legislature. We have conducted these programs in multiple counties throughout the Commonwealth and among various age groups from students to seniors. The skilled taught in these workshops can be used to advocate on any issue.
PA Uploaded 642,000 Missing Mental Health Records into the Federal System
As of January 2013, Pennsylvania has essentially moved from worst to first in terms of providing state mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. This was a critical accomplishment, and we must ensure the records continue to be shared.
The “Florida Loophole” is Closed
In February 2013, Attorney General Kathleen Kane took important steps to ensure that Pennsylvania residents who want to carry concealed firearms must get a Pennsylvania license through a process that requires approval of their county’s law enforcement authorities. No longer can Pennsylvanians avoid the judgment of their local sheriff or police department by applying for out of state concealed carry permits.
CeaseFirePA Meets with Vice-President Biden and Attorney General Holder to Discuss Gun Violence Prevention
In January 2013, CeaseFirePA was among the gun violence prevention advocacy groups and gun violence victims and survivors called to Washington, D.C. to meet with Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder to provide guidance to the President’s Task Force on Gun Violence.
The Bradley Fox Bill is Passed Setting Mandatory Minimums for Straw Purchasers
In fall 2012, the PA legislature passed and Governor Corbett signed this law setting mandatory minimum sentences for straw purchasers convicted of multiple purchases.