ALLENTOWN, Feb. 27, 2013 — CeaseFirePA, a coalition of Pennsylvanians, mayors, police chiefs, faith leaders, and community organizations, today proudly stood with Mayors Against Illegal Guns to call on our federal leaders to support the Fix Background Checks Act.  Shira Goodman, CeaseFirePA Executive Director, explained, “Requiring a background check on every gun sale is a common sense reform that 95% of Pennsylvanians support.”

Joining CeaseFirePA and Mayors Against Illegal Guns were Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, State Representative Mike Schlossberg, Whitehall Township Mayor Ed Hozza, Northampton Mayor Thomas Reenock, and Assistant Police Chief Dan Warg.  As Mayor Pawlowski explained,   “The single most important thing we can do as a country to reduce gun violence is to require a background check for every gun sale.  We cannot stand by and passively watch as 33 people a day are murdered with guns. It’s time for Congress to act.”

Currently, Pennsylvania requires a background check on all sales of handguns and on all sales by a federally licensed firearms dealer.  But this exempts private sales of long guns, including semi-automatic rifles.  In addition, many states do not require background checks for private sales of handguns.  These loopholes- whether in Pennsylvania or in other states- put us all at risk.  As State Representative Schlossberg urged, “”Because of these loopholes, people die.  They are killed needlessly and senselessly, and what’s even more frustrating is that, in many cases, we can prevent their deaths.”

Background checks work; since 1998, nearly two million attempted firearms purchases have been blocked by the background check system.  Clearly, requiring background checks for every gun sale makes it much harder for people who shouldn’t have guns to get them.  The proposed changes to the background check system will make it even stronger. Goodman urged Pennsylvanians to join CeaseFirePA in demanding action: “This is the time for change.  We must make our voices heard and let Senators Casey and Toomey know we need them to support mandatory background checks for every gun sale.”