Senate Bill 501 Would Close Loophole that Currently Makes it Easy for Certain Domestic Abusers to Access Guns
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Volunteers with the Pennsylvania chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today praised Pennsylvania State Senator Tom Killion and other lawmakers for introducing bipartisan legislation aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. If passed, Senate Bill 501 would close dangerous loopholes in existing law by requiring domestic abusers to relinquish their guns to local law enforcement or a licensed firearms dealer within 24 hours.
Current Pennsylvania law allows judges leeway to determine whether an abuser who is subject to a final protection from abuse order should be prohibited from possessing guns. Between 2011 and 2015, only 14 percent of final protection from abuse orders in Pennsylvania included surrender provisions requiring the abuser to turn in his guns. Keystone State law runs counter to federal law, which automatically bars abusers who’ve been subject to final protective orders from possessing guns.
STATEMENT FROM DEB MARTESLO, VOLUNTEER CHAPTER LEADER WITH THE PENNSYLVANIA CHAPTER OF MOMS DEMAND ACTION FOR GUN SENSE IN AMERICA:
“It’s time to pass this legislation. We know that more than half of women in Pennsylvania killed by intimate partners were killed with guns. That’s a staggering statistic and one that merits immediate action from our legislators. Cities in states that restrict access to firearms for abusers subject to protection orders see a 25 percent drop in intimate partner gun homicides. This is an issue that transcends party and I am hopeful that Senator Killion can get the job done. He and his fellow co-sponsors deserve real credit for introducing SB 501. It’s time for Pennsylvania to get this important bill across the finish line and stand up for Keystone children and families.”
Pennsylvania’s lax laws can have lethal consequences: Last year 102 people were killed in domestic violence incidents in Pennsylvania and 56 percent of the victims were shot, according to the 2016 Fatality Report released this month by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Over the past decade, guns have been used in more than half of Pennsylvania domestic homicides.
The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence has led advocacy efforts on this public safety legislation. Last year, the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, and the Pennsylvania State Police supported a similar bill.