Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Democratic Gov Candidates on Gun Violence

A note from our friends at CeaseFirePA:

Three of the four Democratic candidates for Pennsylvania governor say they support a law requiring that lost or stolen handguns be reported to the police - another large step forward for a commonsense reform attracting growing support across the state.

At a candidates’ forum Friday night in Harrisburg, Democratic gubernatorial candidates Joe Hoeffel, Dan Onorato and Chris Doherty all said they support lost or stolen handgun reporting and would sign such a bill into law if it comes to their desk as governor.

Although the fourth Democratic candidate, Jack Wagner, did not say he would specifically support lost or stolen handgun reporting, or any other particular reform, Wagner, the state Auditor General, did say illegal “guns in the hands of the wrong people” were a severe problem statewide that needed to be addressed. Republican candidates Tom Corbett and Sam Rohrer did not attend the forum.

The statements by the Democratic candidates for PA governor in support of stronger gun laws represent another significant step forward in the growing movement for such reforms led by CeaseFirePA. They also come just as CeaseFirePA announced plans today to make gun violence prevention and the passage of reforms to toughen PA gun laws an issue in the governor’s race.

Lost or stolen wasn’t the only gun violence prevention reform supported by the gubernatorial candidates at Friday’s forum, sponsored by Keystone Progress at the Pennsylvania Progressive Summit 2010. Onorato, Allegheny County Executive; Hoeffel, Montgomery County Commissioner; and Doherty, Mayor of Scranton, all also came out in favor of a child safety lock requirement for handguns, and for allowing Pennsylvania municipalities to enact gun laws specific to the needs of their own communities. Hoeffel and Doherty also backed proposals limiting purchase of handguns to one per month.

In the last year and a half, 25 Pennsylvania cities and towns have taken action and voted in support of lost or stolen handgun reporting. A coalition of Pennsylvania Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown from a half-dozen mayors to a large, diverse, growing group of more than 150. Similar coalitions of Pennsylvania police chiefs and faith leaders now include nearly 100 chiefs and 275 faith leaders, respectively.

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