Philly Dem Proposes State Assault Weapon Ban
A Philly Democrat wants Pennsylvania to impose an assault weapons ban at the state level.
Sen. Larry Farnese on Tuesday sent colleagues a memo urging the ban, as well as a resolution calling on Congress to reimpose an assault weapons ban at the federal level.
“In the absence of a federal ban, a statewide assault weapons ban is a commonsense approach to curtailing gun violence,” he wrote.
There was a federal ban on assault weapons, passed during the early years of the Clinton Administration. It lasted 10 years, from 1994 to 2004, before a sunset provision ended the law without renewal. With Republicans in charge of Congress — and the Pennsylvania Legislature — it’s unlikely a new ban will get much traction either at the state or federal levels. Indeed, Farnese said a previous attempt was made during the legislature’s 2013-14 session.
But Farnese suggested to colleagues that mass shootings across the country make such an effort worthwhile.
“An assault weapons ban will not prevent every violent act,” he wrote, “but restricting access to military-style weapons is an important step in the right direction.
Farnese’s full memo below:
From: Senator Lawrence Farnese
To: All Senate members
Subject: Assault Weapons Ban
In the near future, I plan to introduce two pieces of legislation that would address the issue of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. The first is a bill that would establish a statewide ban on assault weapons for non-military and non-law enforcement agents. The second is a resolution urging the reinstatement of the federal Assault Weapons Ban.
As a legislative body, we have had the opportunity to work on important firearms legislation in the past, such as the straw purchasing bill, House Bill 898 of Legislative Session 2011-2012. In an effort to continue the discussion on commonsense public safety proposals, I believe it is time to reintroduce legislation banning dangerous assault weapons for non-military and non-law enforcement agents. This legislation will be identical to Senate Bill 435 of Legislative Session 2013-2014. Previous co-sponsors include Senators Costa, Fontana, Hughes, Tartaglione, and Williams.
With the federal Assault Weapons Ban having expired in the fall of 2004, Pennsylvania has been left vulnerable to violence with assault weapons for the last eleven years. Law enforcement organizations across the country supported the federal ban, including the Fraternal Order of Police, National Sheriffs’ Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police and Major City Chiefs Association. My resolution will urge Congress and the President to pass and sign legislation that would reinstate a federal assault weapons and high-capacity magazine ban.
In the absence of a federal ban, a statewide assault weapons ban is a commonsense approach to curtailing gun violence. Our country has experienced too many devastating mass shootings over the past several months and years. In 2015 alone, there were 372 shootings that resulted in the death or injury of four or more people. These acts of violence left 475 people dead and 1,870 wounded. An assault weapons ban will not prevent every violent act, but restricting access to military-style weapons is an important step in the right direction.”
Please join me in sponsoring this commonsense public safety measure.