Today marks a solemn day of remembrance in our Commonwealth. Five years ago today, a shooter armed with an assault rifle attacked a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing eleven worshipers and wounding six others.1 It was the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in American history. Five years out, we continue to grieve, to heal in the ways we can, and to mourn the loss of life we will never get back. And today we process the shock of yet another mass killing in Lewiston, Maine.
Some people find the best way to heal is to be a part of the solution – I’m one of them, and I want to invite you to join me today to use your voice to make a difference.
This atrocity was made possible by access to an assault rifle – a weapon of war. We know that access to these deadly weapons increases violence. Mass shootings rose dramatically and had higher death counts after the federal assault weapons ban expired in 2004.2 While we wait for federal action, we have the chance to make a difference here in PA.
I’m asking you to urge your State Representative and Senator to co-sponsor legislation to ban assault weapons and protect our Commonwealth from mass shootings.
Senate Bill 2003 and House Bill 3364 would finally ban the sale of assault weapons in Pennsylvania. While this would just be one small step in addressing a gun violence crisis that sees far more deaths from suicides and community-based violence compared to mass shootings5, it would help alleviate a uniquely American source of terror in all Pennsylvania communities that a mass shooter could strike at any moment at our child’s school, the bowling alley, or our house of worship.
Do you have just a few minutes to contact your PA legislators today and join our movement to end gun violence? This is how we honor the memories of the 11 worshipers murdered that dark day five years ago – by saving innocent lives going forward.