For more than 20 years we have overcome the powerful gun lobby to delivery key policy victories. Each one saves lives.
A History of Progress
Veto of Permitless Carry Legislation
Despite objections from CeaseFirePA and allies in law enforcement, public health, and survivor communities, the General Assembly passed legislation to allow anyone over 18 to carry a concealed firearm without being vetted through a permit process. Fortunately, Governor Wolf vetoed this deadly legislation.
Significant Investment in PA Community-based Violence Prevention programs
Our coalition of more than 90 local officials, doctors, law enforcement members, and gun violence prevention advocates helped win the largest funding for community-based violence prevention in Commonwealth history. The $30 million helps communities respond to rising shootings during COVID-19 pandemic by expanding interruption and prevention programs.
$20 Million Powers Philadelphia Non-profits Response to Historic Violence
With the Coronavirus pandemic shutting down critical violence reduction programs, homicides climbed to 550 murders by the end of 2020. By highlighting the need of local organizations to expand their programs, we were able to create a local coalition of experts, doctors and public health leaders that helped expand effective programs to provide support to victims, reduce drivers of gun violence, and intervene before a shooting.
Regulating Ghost Guns
These mostly-built firearms evade existing laws by leaving final assembly to the buyer–something that can be accomplished in minutes. After years of CeaseFirePA pointing out the dangers of evading background check system, the Biden Administration proposed a new rule that would classify them as firearms. Our supporters submitted thousands of public comments and now await a final rulemaking in 2022.
Launch of Common Agenda
Gun violence is an epidemic that takes the lives of 1,600 Pennsylvanians each year — and 3,000 more are wounded. This epidemic impacts each community differently. That’s why in 2021 we launched a new coalition of more than 130 organizations advocating for policies that address each source of this crisis. Together, we’re bringing together a community able to pass laws to require reporting of lost or stolen firearms, extreme risk protection orders and reporting of lost or stolen firearms.
Suing the General Assembly’s Refusal to Address Gun Violence
We joined with the City of Philadelphia and survivors to sue the Commonwealth for preventing local action to end gun violence. The landmark lawsuit argues that the General Assembly’s handcuffing of local officials ability to enact evidence-based solutions to gun violence while refusing to act, stokes a growing gun violence epidemic. This violates Pennsylvanians right to “enjoy and defend life and liberty” under the state Constitution.
Sixfold Increase in Tracking of Illegal Firearms
Every illegal gun starts as a legal gun. For years, we advocated for a new system to help law enforcement understand how this transformation occurs so they can halt the flow of illegal firearms before they are used in a crime. Our advocacy led to Attorney General Shapiro establishing the Track & Trace program in July of 2019, a unique effort to encourage local law enforcement agencies to join in the ATF’s e-Trace program. It has already massively increased local law enforcement’s ability to discover the source of illegal firearms.
Vote to Close the Charleston Loophole
Every Pennsylvania Democratic Congressperson and one Republican voted to close the Charleston Loophole, which allows someone to buy a firearm after three days if a background check is still being run.
Ensuring Safe Schools
After Tamaqua School District decided to adopt and implement a policy to arm teachers and other non security personnel in school, we secured counsel for a group of parents to challenge the policy, filed an amicus brief in the Union’s separate lawsuit against the policy, and have worked with parents fighting the School Board.
Act 79 Disarms Abusers
Until the end of 2018, abusers in Pennsylvania could keep their firearms for up to 60 days–and still only have to turn it over to a friend. That changed in 2018, when we joined with a broad coalition to enact a new law that disarms abusers in PA. The first major piece of gun violence prevention legislation passed in PA in years requires people with a Protection from Abuse Order to hand over any firearms to law enforcement or a federally licensed firearm dealer within 24 hours .
Defending Reporting of Lost or Stolen Firearms in Court
CeaseFirePA joined with two mothers who lost their children to gun violence, the PA Anti-Violence/Anti-Drug Network, and Mothers in Charge to support Philadelphia’s defense of a local ordinance requiring reporting of lost or stolen firearms. This law helps reduce illegal firearm trafficking driving community violence. Represented by Saul Ewing, we’re defending Philadelphia, and other municipalities, ability to establish gun safety laws because the Commonwealth’s preemption ordinance is not absolute.
Auditor General PA Gun Deaths Report
In Fall 2018, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale included several recommendations from CeaseFirePA including a statewide crime gun trace data collection process with an accompanying public report and urging all sheriffs to check references provided on applications for concealed carry licenses.
Preventing school teachers/non-security personnel
In 2017, the legislature attempted to enable local school districts to allow teachers and other non-security 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.
Blocking Punitive Preemption
We continue to block legislation that would allow the NRA or other gun extremists organizations to sue cities for trying to enact gun safety laws.
Lawsuit over punitive preemption/standing
Following the enactment of Act 192 in 2014 (the special standing/punitive preemption bill), we put together a lawsuit to challenge the law as unconstitutionally passed. The Commonwealth Court ruled in our favor in 2015, and the Supreme Court affirmed in 2016, striking down Act 192. Since that time, the legislature has been unable to reenact the provisions of Act 192, and towns and cities have been safe from the frivolous and expensive lawsuits that were engendered by that legislation.
Including Mental Health Records in Background Checks
In early 2013, after years of our advocacy to the Governor (then Governor Corbett) and the PA State Police, Pennsylvania finally began sharing its mental health records with the National Instant Criminal Check System (NICS). 642,000 records were uploaded, and since that time, PA is one of the most compliant states in sharing mental health records that prohibit someone from purchasing a firearm, ensuring that those who attempt to buy guns out of state will have their records available for check by other states.
Closing the Florida Loophole
In early 2013 and again following years of our advocacy, the PA Attorney General (then AG Kane) started to review and renegotiate concealed carry reciprocity agreements with other states to ensure that similar standards governed issuance of licenses that would receive reciprocal recognition and to ensure that PA residents obtain PA licenses in order to carry concealed in PA. This closed what was known as the Florida loophole that allowed those who could not get a license in PA to apply online and obtain a Florida concealed carry license for use in PA. Attorney General Shapiro has continued to review and renegotiate these agreements to ensure safety in PA.
Senators Casey & Toomey support closing background check loophole
In spring 2013, both PA Senators voted in favor of expanding background checks when the Manchin-Toomey bill was voted on.
Take a Stand
We’ll never stop fighting for a safe, gun violence-free Pennsylvania. If you share that goal, power our efforts today.