Despite the very full agenda at the Pennsylvania General Assembly meeting, time was found last week to pass legislation to declare the Pennsylvania long rifle as the official firearm of the state.In their Op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer, CeaseFirePA exective-director Shira Goodman and CeaseFire Pennsylvania vice-president Phil Goldsmith contend that “Pennsylvania should be ashamed. For Harrisburg to have done nothing to make us safer, to even try to address the problem of gun violence, is shameful. At the same time, for Harrisburg to have spent valuable time on designating a state firearm is embarrassing.”

The timing for officially recognizing he Pennsylvania long rifle could not have been worse.  Just last week, multiple shootings in Las Vegas, Seattle, and Oregon resulted in several innocent deaths.  Additionally, by recently trying to remove the ban on prohibiting guns in workplace parking lots, PA legislators are compromising the safety of civilians. Indeed, “more than 1,300 people die every year in this commonwealth by guns – from homicides, suicides, and accidents. Does that statistic prompt our elected officials in Harrisburg to finally debate and vote on expanding the background check system or passing a requirement to report lost or stolen weapons?No, those bills remain in lockdown in committee.” 

Therefore, it is crucial that we continue to “make our voices heard,” by our State reps.  We need to continue to oppose the “gun in parking lots” amendments and support expanded background checks. As they point out in their column: “It will be a sad legacy if, post-Sandy Hook, the number of deaths and casualties from gun violence continues to rise and all the General Assembly could muster the courage to do is designate an official state firearm.”

 As they point out in their column: “It will be a sad legacy if, post-Sandy Hook, the number of deaths and casualties from gun violence continues to rise and all the General Assembly could muster the courage to do is designate an official state firearm.”

Read the full Op-Ed here