House Bill 1498 is on its way to the state Senate after being approved in the House on Monday by a 184-11 vote, writes Capitolwire‘s Chris Comisac. The bill would impose a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for felons illegally possessing firearms. Crimes committed by such individuals, or individuals possessing a fake gun, would also be labeled as “crimes of violence” that would trigger Pennsylvania’s second and third strike provisions (ten and twenty-five-year mandatory minimums, respectively). In cases involving gun replicas, the fake gun must be visible during the commission of the crime in order for the bill’s stronger penalties to apply.
CeaseFirePennsylvania, one of the state’s many gun violence prevention groups, is in favor of HB 1498, said Shira Goodman, the organization’s executive director.
“We support it. I’ve talked with Todd about it. CeaseFirePA, in addition to a lot of the changes we want—in terms of regulation of firearms and background checks – we think that tougher penalties for those who commit crimes with guns is a good idea. This bill seems to make sense. But we think mandatory minimums and crimes bills are only one piece of the puzzle.”