In his article in the Reading Eagle, Ford Turner recounted some of the points made in CeaseFirePA’s telephone town hall (TTH) with ex-Governor Ed Rendell Tuesday night (read the full article here).
Shira Goodman, executive director of CeaseFirePA, claimed during the TTH that a 2011 shooting resulting in the death of Berks County Deputy Sheriff Kyle Pagerly could have been avoided if Pennsylvania gun purchasing laws were more stringent with regard to performing background checks. Pagerly was shot with an AK-47 wielded by Matthew Connor, a 25 year old legally unable to purchase or possess firearms due to a juvenile felony conviction.
Goodman is advocating for HB 1010, a bill that would close a loophole in PA allowing private sellers to sell long guns without performing a background check on the purchaser. Goodman claims that in a post-HB 1010 Pennsylvania, situations similar to Pagerly’s murder will be less common since purchasers will be forced to undergo a background check before acquiring weapons.
The bill was drafted by state Representative Steven J. Santarsiero – a Democrat from Bucks County – and has received mixed support from Representatives on both sides. “State Rep. Thomas R. Caltagirone of Reading, Democratic chairman of the committee, said the bill made good sense. But, he said, it has not come to a vote because the majority chairman of the committee, Republican state Rep. Ron Marsico of Dauphin County, has not sought a vote.”