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Lancaster Interchurch Peace Witness is a grassroots association dedicated to promoting biblical values of justice, care of creation, peace and nonviolent solutions to conflict.

LIPW & CeaseFirePA to Form a New Advocacy Group

Categories: Action Alerts,LIPW Interest Group,Peace Advocacy,Violence in Society

LIPW is assisting CeaseFirePa to form an advocacy group in Lancaster County that becomes informed and available as advocates for public safety and reasonable gun regulation regulation in Pennsylvania. We seek to do our part to address the ongoing epidemic of gun violence in this country. On average there are over 30,000 gun related deaths in the U.S. per year, which translates to more than 80 per day! Virginia Tech; Sandy Hook Elementary; Aurora, CO; Washington Navy Yards; Ft. Hood, TX and many more, cry out for the attention of this nation. If you wish to be part of this advocacy group please contact Ken Trauger, or Urbane Peachey

The material below is a summary of what Shira Goodman, Executive Director of CeaseFirePA and Jonathan Goldstein, a prominent Pennsylvania firearms attorney, presented on April 3. Goodman focused on gun violence prevention and Goldstein focused on protecting the rights of law abiding gun owners. A summary of this event appears in the Intelligencer Journal/New Era, Saturday, April 5, 2014.

What is CeaseFirePa?

CeaseFirePA is a statewide coalition of mayors, police chiefs, faith leaders, community organizations, and individual Pennsylvanians working together to take a stand against gun violence. Through outreach, education, coalition building, and advocacy, the coalitions work to reduce gun violence, stop the flow of illegal guns onto on to the streets, and keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.

Current PA background check law requires:

  • Background checks for any gun purchased at a federally licensed dealer
  • Background checks for private sales of handguns

What is missing from the current PA law?

People buying long guns do NOT need to undergo background checks when buying from private sellers. This refers to shot guns, rifles and semi-automatic assault-style rifles. This means felons, domestic abusers, and people who are dangerously mentally ill can avoid background checks when buying long guns from private sellers.

What is Pennsylvania HB 1010?

House Bill 1010, currently before the State Assembly would repeal the exemption in Pennsylvania law that currently allows prohibited purchasers to avoid background checks when buying long guns from private sellers.

Why should HB 1010 be supported? CeaseFirePa explains.

Pennsylvania’s background check system should not distinguish between the type of seller or type of gun. Simply put, there should be a background check every time a gun is sold: every gun, every time. Although long guns are used less frequently in crimes than are handguns, they are used disproportionately by domestic abusers against their intimate partners and by criminals against law enforcement officers. The term “long gun” applies to most rifles and shotguns, including military assault weapons like the AR-15 type rifles used in the recent mass shootings in Newtown, CT and Aurora, CO. Private sales of long guns should be subject to background checks. That’s all HB 1010 does.

Issue: Lost & Stolen Reporting

THE BOTTOM LINE: If a person discovers that his or her firearm has been lost or stolen, he or she should report it missing to the police within a reasonable period of time. Lost or stolen reporting is a reform designed to crack down on the major sources of crime guns: loss, theft, and straw purchasers – people who buy guns and then sell them illegally to people who can’t buy them on their own. It’s common sense and — even more importantly — police tell us this policy works.

Right now CeaseFirePa is working on HB 1515, which would impose a statewide lost or stolen reporting requirement. In the past few years, forty-nine towns and municipalities have taken steps to either mandate lost or stolen reporting or ask Harrisburg to enact a statewide requirement. This is a legitimate, commonsense law enforcement tool.

Speak Out Against Bad Policies

Contact your local paper and make clear where you stand!

The gun lobby wants to eliminate the one strong piece of Pennsylvania’s system for regulating firearms: the Pennsylvania Instant Criminal Background Check System. (HB 921) The Pennsylvania State Police believe this system not only works to block gun sales to prohibited purchasers but has more data than the federal system and has additional benefits to law enforcement agents.

Actions to Oppose

  • Oppose HB 921 and HB 2011
    • HB 921 would eliminate the Pennsylvania Instant Criminal Background Check System.
    • HB 2011 would punish towns for enacting local laws to keep their communities safe.
Author: LIPW