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Gun Safety Advocates Renew Calls to Pennsylvania Lawmakers to Fund Gun Violence Prevention After Deadly Mass Shooting in Pittsburgh Suburb Kills Two and Wounds Seven

June 3, 2024

PITTSBURGH — Today, Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots network, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statement in response to a mass shooting at a bar in suburban Pittsburgh over the weekend which killed two and wounded seven others. While investigations are still ongoing, initial reports indicate that individuals opened fire after an altercation in the bar. Yesterday’s shooting comes amidst budget negotiations among lawmakers to fund FY 2025, where Governor Josh Shapiro and Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis have called for a historic $100 million to fund gun violence prevention efforts, including an Office of Gun Violence Prevention. 

“Our hearts are with those who lost loved ones yesterday, and those who were injured, as our communities heal from yet another weekend marred by this uniquely American crisis. When will we be able to have a weekend without mourning?” said Marlene Ozel, a volunteer with the Pennsylvania chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We know that community violence prevention programs are one way that we can make our communities safer and it’s long overdue that our lawmakers hear our demands to support them. With the budget still on the table we need our lawmakers to ensure funding for these lifesaving programs before it’s too late.” 

“I’m tired of growing up in a world where hanging out on the weekend can be a death sentence,” said Erin DeSantis, a member of the Students Demand Action National Organizing Board from Pennsylvania. “It’s time that our lawmakers hear our demands for a better future. By funding gun violence prevention efforts across the state, we can begin moving towards a safer Pennsylvania for everyone. These resources deserve to be invested in and we’re not going anywhere until our calls for change are heard loud and clear.” 

Earlier this year, Governor Shapiro and Lieutenant Governor Davis reaffirmed their commitment to gun violence prevention by announcing more than $100 million to support gun violence prevention across the Commonwealth, including: 

  • $37.5 million increase for the Violence Intervention And Prevention program in the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), which will support a wide range of models focused on reducing community violence and community violence intervention programs,
  • $5 million increase for the Nonprofit Security Grant Fund at PCCD, which provides resources for places of worship, community centers, and other entities to equip themselves with security measures, 
  • $1 million for a Firearm Injury Prevention Program within the Department of Health (DOH) to enhance data collection and analysis around gun violence, engage in community education initiatives, support evidence- based interventions, and collaborate with county coroners and law enforcement,
  • $11.5 million to create a statewide Building Opportunity through Out of School Time (BOOST) program, which will aim to reduce community violence by providing more after-school learning opportunities for young people, and
  • $1.5 million to increase staffing at the Pennsylvania State Police to grow the trooper force and its civilian employees in essential units to combat gun violence.

Pennsylvania ranks 17th in the nation for the strength of its gun safety laws. Despite repeated calls by advocates to advance these measures over the last two years of this legislative session, the Pennsylvania Senate has yet to take up any common sense gun safety measures. 

In an average year, 1,759 people die by guns in Pennsylvania and another 4,020 are wounded. Gun violence costs Pennsylvania $21.7 billion each year, of which $470.7 million is paid by taxpayers. More information about gun violence Pennsylvania is available here

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