Unfortunately, in Pennsylvania, as we push for commonsense gun safety legislation, we must spend substantial time countering the legislature’s gun lobby-backed members who promote dangerous legislation.
Guns in Schools
The Pennsylvania legislature has proposed arming teachers and other school personnel as a response to school shootings. Guns in schools create additional risks to students and do not increase school safety. The proposal is widely opposed by teachers, school administrators, parents and students.
The greedy gun lobby has repeatedly tried to pass legislation in Harrisburg that would re-write the entire legal code to allow outside groups like the NRA to sue municipalities for passing gun safety ordinances. This dangerous and unorthodox policy not only undermines a city’s ability to protect its community, but sets an incredibly dangerous precedent for the power of special interest groups in our legal system.
Pennsylvania prides itself on having its own background check system which incorporates more data than the national background check system and which provides one key additional barrier between someone who should never be able to possess a gun from actually obtaining a weapon. Some lawmakers have repeatedly worked to dismantle our state system which would seriously weaken our background check process.
Expanding Stand Your Ground
Lawmakers in Harrisburg have been pushing to expand an individual’s ability to resort to deadly force when threatened. This takes the form of changing the traditional laws of self-defense. A few years ago, the legislature amended the duty to retreat to safety before resorting to deadly force, but required that the person discharging their firearm must believe they see an attacker’s firearm or other lethal weapon before firing. Proposed changes would allow an individual to use deadly force if they feel threatened by an individual even if that person is unarmed.