Hearing House testimony, Warren introduces 3 commonsense gun safety bills

HARRISBURG, March 30 – Following the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee hearing on gun safety last week, state Rep. Perry Warren reintroduced three bills directly addressing the gun safety concerns heard during testimony.

The committee hearing, called by the new Democratic majority, included testimony relating to the pressing needs for safe-storage, lost-and-stolen, and background-check legislation.

After the hearing, Warren promptly reintroduced bills he had introduced in the prior legislative session, each of which would address an aspect of the recommendations of the testifiers at the hearing. House Bills 712, 713 and 714 would address these widely supported measures, said Warren, D-Bucks.

“Majority Chairman Tim Briggs organized this hearing as the first hearing of the House Judiciary Committee this session. Pennsylvanians support policies that will reduce violence and unnecessary loss of life involving guns,” he said. “Guns are involved in suicide, domestic violence, accidents, gang violence and mass shootings – and all signs point to these three basic policies as proven life savers.”

Victims, second victims and advocates took turns Thursday outlining support for laws in Pennsylvania to ensure that stolen or missing guns are reported to law enforcement, guns in homes are safely stored and that long-gun sales at shows, stores or private sales are included in standard background checks.

“The experts and advocates who testified at the hearing were clear that each of these measures is critical in maintaining and enhancing public safety in Pennsylvania and beyond. I already had circulated the bills for co-sponsorship by my colleagues in the House, and the hearing provided the opportune time to formally reintroduce the bills.”

Warren said that his H.B. 712 would keep Pennsylvanians safer because reporting leads to the safe recovery of lost or stolen firearms, which are commonly used in crimes, and would protect lawful owners from criminal accusations if their firearm is later used in a crime. Further, a lost and stolen reporting requirement enables law enforcement to prosecute so called “straw purchases,” in which a gun is transferred or sold to a person banned from owning a firearm under the guise of the gun having been “stolen.”

His H.B. 713 would require firearm owners to safely store all of their firearms when they reside with a person who cannot legally possess a firearm. This would help to keep communities safe by ensuring that dangerous individuals do not have easy access to firearms in the home.

H.B. 714 is Pennsylvania’s long-awaited universal background check law, which would require background checks for all firearms, regardless of barrel length. This simple but effective change would ensure that the sale or transfer of any firearm is kept safe and legal, regardless of whether the firearm was purchased through a licensed retail seller, private transaction or at a gun show.

“Thanks to our testifiers, we know that firearm safety experts and advocates support these measures and that they are saving lives in other states where they are implemented,” said Warren, who is a member of the Pennsylvania Safe Caucus. “Pennsylvanians are killed in preventable tragedies each year, and the time to move these reforms has been long past due.”