Sensible Gun Laws

What do all these mass shootings have in common:

2/14/18 Stoneman Douglas High School,
Parkland, FL
17 dead17 wounded
11/5/17 First Baptist Church,
Sutherland Springs, TX
26 dead20 wounded
10/1/17 Harvest Music Festival,
Las Vegas, NV
58 dead851 wounded
6/12/16 The Pulse nightclub,
Orlando, FL
49 dead58 wounded
12/2/15 Inland Regional Center,
San Bernardino, CA
14 dead22 wounded
12/14/12Sandy Hook Elementary School,
Newtown, CT
27 dead
7/20/12Century 16 Movie Theatre,
Aurora, CO
12 dead 70 wounded

They were all committed with “assault style rifles.” Weapons capable of shooting 13 rounds per second. Weapons capable of holding extended magazines with up to 100 rounds per clip. Weapons that belong in a war zone. Weapons that do not belong on the streets of our country.

As a gun owner myself (a 12-gauge shotgun, a .22 rifle and a .380 pistol) with a concealed carry permit, I fully agree with the second amendment which protects our right to own guns. But I believe we need some commonsense limits on the weapons that private citizens can own.

Consider the psychological aura of these weapons and the individuals that wield them. With that kind of firepower, they feel invincible. Whatever it is that makes them snap, psychosis, anger, despair or vengeance, they intend to go out in a “blaze of glory.” These weapons easily feed their twisted desire to kill as many as possible and to die infamous. I believe that these gunmen are cowards, that many if not all of these shootings might not have occurred if they did not have assault weapons readily available.

Consider our first responders, police, firefighters and EMTs. the people whose lives are devoted to protect and serve others. Consider our school security guards, mall guards, concert security guards and even bouncers at nightclubs. In an active shooter scenario they are potentially entering a situation where they are massively outgunned. The New York City Police Department arms its officers with Glock 17’s, Glock 19’s and Sig Sauer P226’s, semi-automatic pistols with a 15-round capacity magazine. Consider these security personnel facing shooters armed with assault rifles while they are armed with only a pistol or nothing at all.

Our law enforcement and security people should not have to face this kind of firepower. Assault rifles and accessories such as bump stocks should be banned. I would propose a state funded buy-back of banned rifles and accessories funded by adding a $5 fee on every gun sale in Pennsylvania. Once the buy back period has ended, possession of such weapons would be a felony crime with a mandatory 5-year prison sentence.

Colt AR-15, AK-47, Uzi, Bushmaster assault rifle, Armalite AR-180, Beretta AR-70… just some of dozens of manufacturers and hundreds of models of assault weapons available in our country. These are guns for war, not for hunting or sport shooting. Banning these guns would be a major step forward in reducing gun violence in our country. If our federal representatives are going to yield to the financial pressures of the National Rifle Association (the NRA), it is up to the Pennsylvania legislature to protect and serve our people by banning these weapons in our state.

What else can we do in Pennsylvania to address the problem of gun violence?

1. Ensure that every individual who purchases a gun has been vetted through a criminal background check.
 
2. Enforce laws that prohibit private sales of guns between two individuals or at gun shows. Every gun sold must have a documented paper trail of transfer of ownership. These transactions must be recorded through licensed gun dealers or local police departments which can run the necessary background checks to ensure the purchaser can legally own a weapon.
 
3. Any gun owner against whom a Protection From Abuse Order has been issued must surrender his/her firearms to local authorities or a licensed gun dealer within 24 hours. As long as the court ordered Protection From Abuse Order remains in effect, the guns will remain in the custody of the gun dealer or local authorities. When the court order is lifted, the individual may again take possession of his/her gun(s).
 
4. Persons convicted of domestic violence will, within 24 hours of conviction, be required to surrender their weapons to local authorities or sell them to an authorized gun dealer. They will have a lifetime ban from owning guns of any type.
 
Finally, consider proposed federal Conceal Carry Reciprocity (CCR) laws which allow people from other states with weaker gun laws to carry loaded hidden handguns into Pennsylvania. Rather than creating a new national standard concerning who may carry concealed firearms, these bills would elevate the lowest state standard over our higher ones. This would force Pennsylvania to allow concealed carry by out-of-state people who do not qualify under Pennsylvania laws.

The U.S. Congress is considering the national Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (S. 446) and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (H.R. 38). These laws must be voted down.

It is the responsibility of Pennsylvania’s Attorney General to enter into reciprocity agreements with other states whose laws meet or exceed Pennsylvania’s concealed carry laws. Requiring all states to allow reciprocity without their consent would endanger our communities and our law enforcement officers.

We must stop the tragedy of mass shootings. We must safeguard our schools and public gathering places. The time has come for commonsense limits on the weapons that private citizens can own. You can not own a tank; it is a weapon of war. You can not own a grenade launcher; it is a weapon of war. You should not be able to own an assault rifle; it is a weapon of war.

Proud that I have received the “Gun Sense Candidate Distinction” from Moms Demand Action!


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Friends of Sarah Donnelly
4939 State Route 54
Elysburg, PA 17824

 


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