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At Pennsylvania Capitol, groups calling to close loophole in gun laws

April 11, 2013

By Jon Schmitz / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pennsylvania Capitol dome

Pennsylvania Capitol dome

HARRISBURG — Christine Licata, a mother of two who lives in Cumberland County, said she never paid much attention to politics and government, and would turn away from news reports of mass shootings.

That all changed Dec. 14, when she got word of the massacre of 20 children and six staffers at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
“As the news unraveled, so did I,” she said at a news conference Wednesday. “I felt it was my kids.”

She drove to her children’s school to be sure they were safe, the first step in her transition to vigorous activism for gun control.

Ms. Licata is now a member of Moms Demand Action and took the stage in the Capitol with her 6-year-old daughter, Anna. She was one of several who called for a vote on legislation to close a loophole in Pennsylvania’s gun laws. At present, purchasers of long-barrel weapons like shotguns and rifles can avoid the background checks required of other gun buyers.

Rep. Steve Santarsiero, D-Bucks, sponsor of a bill to close the loophole, said polls have shown that 90 percent or more of the public, including an overwhelming majority of gun owners, favors comprehensive background checks.

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