To: All House Members
From: Adam Garber, CeaseFire Pennsylvania Executive Director
RE: Vote No on House Bill 1747, CeaseFire Pennsylvania’s Opposition to Firearm Bill Before the House
CeaseFire Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth leading state-based gun violence prevention advocacy organization, urges you to vote no on House Bill 1747 (Dowling). It would limit law enforcement’s ability to de-escalate dangerous and potentially deadly situations during an emergency declaration. Law enforcement needs to have the ability to remove a weapon brandished or used in the furtherance of chaos and to have a clear-cut delineation of what is legal in those trying times.
States of emergency are, by their very definition, volatile situations in which the health and welfare of the citizens of this Commonwealth can be endangered in a myriad of ways. In the current one, we have seen individuals brandish firearms exacerbating already tense situations, leading to terror, injury, or death. Our legislature chose to address this both by passing Pa. 18 C.S.A. § 6107, which restricts openly carrying firearms during a state of emergency, and by passing Pa. 35 C.S.A. § 7301(e)(8), which specifically includes the power to regulate the sale of firearms during a state emergency in our Governor’s executive power. These statutes were passed after careful consideration, in which the interests of the public were weighed against the interest of the firearms industry.
Unfortunately, House Bill 1747 would prevent law enforcement from temporarily removing someone’s weapon because of the emergency declaration. Removing this critical tool to keep the peace will undermine safety while not substantially benefiting Pennsylvanians.
We stand in opposition to HB 1747, which attempts to curtail public safety, restrict the statutorily-protected executive power of our Governor, override existing statutory law, and unnecessarily confuse and complicate the roles of law enforcement, all to benefit the gun lobby.
CeaseFire Pennsylvania Executive Director