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Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee Passes Life-Saving Gun Safety Bills Including, A Red Flag Law, Expanding Background Checks, Requiring Secure Firearm Storage Requirements, and Requiring Reporting of Lost and Stolen Guns

April 26, 2023

The Pennsylvania chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement applauding the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee for voting to advance life-saving gun safety legislation, including establishing a Extreme Risk law — sometimes known as “Red Flag” law, expanding background checks, secure storage requirements, and requiring reporting of lost and stolen guns. The bills are expected to be voted on the House floor next week. 

“Everyday our communities are devastated by senseless acts of gun violence — we applaud the House Judiciary Committee for meeting these moments with action and not apathy,” said Elizabeth Jones, a volunteer with the Pennsylvania chapter of Moms Demand Action. “This is an important step in the right direction and we look forward to working with lawmakers to get this bill passed in the House so we can continue to protect our communities from gun violence.” 

Below are the gun safety bills that passed the House Judiciary Committee: 

  • HB 1018 — This bill would establish an Extreme Risk law sometimes known as “Red Flag” law that would create a process through an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) allowing law enforcement, family, or household members to petition a court to temporarily restrict a person’s access to firearms. ERPOs can help put time and space between a person in crisis and firearms and are a proven way to prevent gun violence.
  • HB 714 – This bill would expand the Commonwealth’s background check requirement to cover private sales of all firearms. Ninety three percent of voters in the U.S., 89% of Republicans, and 89% of gun owners support requiring background checks on all gun sales, and there’s a good reason why: background checks save lives. Each year on just one website, 1.2 million online ads offering firearms for sale are listed that would not legally require a background check to be completed. And nearly 1 in 9 prospective buyers who respond to ads from unlicensed sellers would not pass a background check.
  • HB 338 – This bill would require a person to report a lost or stolen firearm. Gun thefts occur in staggering numbers and often divert guns into an underground market where people with dangerous histories are able to easily obtain firearms. Requiring that lost and stolen guns be reported to law enforcement deters illegal gun trafficking. One study found that lost and stolen reporting laws reduced traced illegal gun movement by 46 percent compared to states that do not have such a law.
  • HB 731 — This bill would require a firearm to be stored securely any time it is not on the person of the owner or in their immediate control. Gun owners can make their homes and communities safer by storing their guns securely – locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition. Securing firearms protects children and adults by preventing unintentional shootings and gun suicides, and can also prevent gun violence at schools by reducing school-age children’s access to guns.

In an average year in Pennsylvania, 1,713 people die by guns, and 1,992 more are wounded by guns. Gun violence costs Pennsylvania $21.7 billion each year, of which $470.7 million is paid by taxpayers. More information on gun violence in Pennsylvania is available here.  

To speak to a local volunteer with Moms Demand Action, a volunteer with Students Demand Action, or a policy expert, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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