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Governor Wolf Vetoes Dangerous Punitive Preemption Bill; Pennsylvania Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Respond

February 4, 2022

The Pennsylvania chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of the Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statements applauding Governor Tom Wolf for his veto of HB 979 / SB 448, a bill that would expand Pennsylvania’s already restrictive preemption law to punish localities for attempting to enact common-sense public safety measures in their communities.

“We are very grateful to Governor Wolf for vetoing this dangerous bill and standing up for local communities who wish to act in the interest of their own safety,” said Beth Foringer, a volunteer with the Pennsylvania chapter of Moms Demand Action. “The Republican-controlled legislature’s callous disregard for the gun violence epidemic in Pennsylvania is, frankly, offensive. This is a time when we expect our elected officials to protect our communities, not further restrict the ability to address the problem.”

“Governor Wolf’s veto of this dangerous bill sends the message that local communities can and should be able to protect themselves from gun violence,” said Avery Hamill, a volunteer with Students Demand Action in Philadelphia and member of the Students Demand Action National Advisory Board. “Pennsylvania’s cities and towns are in need of local measures to combat gun violence now more than ever, and this bill — pushed by Republican, gun lobby-backed lawmakers — would have deeply harmed those efforts even further.”
What to know about punitive preemption bills in Pennsylvania:

  • HB 979 / SB 448 would have expanded and added punitive elements to an already dangerous preemption law, threatening some of Pennsylvania’s hardest hit communities with expensive lawsuits if they adopt gun safety measures that work for them — at a time when Pennsylvania cities are still seeing the impacts of the dual public health crisis of COVID and gun violence. 
  • The bill’s extreme punitive elements would have harmed localities, punish taxpayers, and potentially line the pockets of out-of-state gun lobby groups.

In an average year in Pennsylvania, 1,628 people die by guns and 3,058 people are wounded. Gun violence costs Pennsylvania $12.1 billion each year, of which $567.4 million is paid by taxpayers. More information on gun violence in Pennsylvania can be found here.

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