Gun violence takes the lives or injures 4,600 Pennsylvanians every year. And there isn’t a single community in the state that is unaffected by this epidemic. The Common Agenda addresses each major source of this devastation by bringing together more than 130 organizations to advocate for solutions that will save lives.
Gun Violence is as diverse as PA
Gun violence is as diverse as Pennsylvania itself.
In cities from Pittsburgh to York to Philadelphia, rising rates of community violence are destroying the fabric of neighborhoods, and taking the lives of loved ones. Someone is shot or injured every five hours in the midst of this violence — and the victim is more likely to be Black or Latino than white.
The majority of firearm deaths in Pennsylvania are suicides — approximately 900 per year, or more than two per day. And, the highest rate of those deaths are in rural counties with Wayne, Elk, Carbon, Clarion, Schuylkill, and Clearfield counties topping the list.
Annual mass shootings have more than doubled nationally in just six years — going from 270 in 2014 to 610 in 2020, a 225% increase. But policy can make an impact: states with stronger laws see 63% fewer mass shootings, on average, than those with weaker laws.
The inescapable truth is many of these deaths would be preventable if we enacted a series of simple, common sense measures, all of them broadly supported by the public. When all the measures are combined, this agenda has the power to weave together a statewide coalition that embraces the diversity of ourCommonwealth by recognizing that violence visits our communities differently, but the suffering that comes from the loss of parents, children, friends and classmates is an unimaginable toll that can unite us. That recognition can power change to ensure another life isn’t lost by gun violence.
Our Common Agenda to End Gun Violence, isn’t radical. It’s popular.
This mechanism empower family members and law enforcement to petition a judge to temporarily remove guns from a loved one in crisis, without subjecting them to an involuntary mental-health commitment. Nearly 80% of Pennsylvanians support the concept, and states have found massive reductions in suicides after enacting ERPO laws.
Lost or Stolen Gun Reporting requires gun owners to report the loss or theft of a firearm within three days of discovering the firearm is gone. This would reduce community violence by giving police an essential tracking tool to help them disrupt the flow of illegal guns into communities most susceptible to violence.
Requiring background checks on the private sales of long guns would close a loophole that currently allows violent felons and other dangerous individuals to purchase military-style rifles — the weapon of choice for mass shootings — from a private/non-licensed seller without oversight.
Safe Storage legislation would require firearm owners to be responsible and securely store their weapons in the home when not in use. This has been shown to prevent school shootings, unintentional shootings, and suicides, especially by preventing children from accessing weapons.
The Common Agenda is powered by our partners. They are doctors treating bullet wounds and counseling patients at risk of suicide. Faith leaders who understand that valuing life is at the core of faith. Violence prevention advocates who are working tirelessly to stop the next shooting. And survivors, who have turned loss into power and purpose. Together, we’re the Common Agenda to End Gun Violence.
“As a pediatrician whose young patients and their families suffer the trauma of gun violence every day, I am proud to be part of CeaseFire PA’s Common Agenda to End Gun Violence. We are proposing thoughtful, effective, common sense solutions that everyone who cares about children can embrace wholeheartedly”
Dorothy R. Novick MD, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
“As an organization working to build supportive communities among minority veteran populations, we proudly joined the Common Agenda coalition to raise awareness and support for policies like Extreme Risk Protection Orders that will prevent veteran suicide, which claims the lives of over 250 Pennsylvania veterans every year. Together, we are part of a powerful movement for change.”
Aryanna Wagner, Founder of RISE: Rank & File
Take a Stand
We’ll never stop fighting for a safe, gun violence-free Pennsylvania. If you share that goal, power our efforts today.