The Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition (BCWAC) applauds Governor Wolf’s comprehensive and coordinated Executive Order to combat gun violence in Pennsylvania.
- Creates a Senior Advisor for Gun Violence Prevention to coordinate the Commonwealth’s gun reform agenda.
- Establishes separate entities to look at gun violence from the perspectives of public safety, public health, and data collection.
- Stipulates the responsibilities and roles of the existing departments of Health and Human Service in preventing gun-related suicides.
- Requires state police to enhance and expand their efforts to identify and deter potential sources of gun violence, develop gun violence prevention training, and draft guidelines for local gun buyback programs.
- Creates a Special Council on Gun Violence to study and make recommendations to reduce and prevent gun violence. Council members will include law enforcement officers, legislators, healthcare workers, and professionals from juvenile and education agencies.
“The time constraint given to the council illustrates Governor Wolf’s realization of the urgency of our gun violence plague,” said Peggy Walsh, a BCWAC gun safety specialist. “The council will be up and running in 60 days and is charged with presenting recommendations within 180 days.”
BCWAC president Kathy Welsh Beveridge said, “We also are pleased that the governor enrolled Pennsylvania in the “States for Gun Safety” coalition, a multi-state partnership that combats gun violence by sharing information and establishing the nation’s first regional Gun Violence Research Consortium. It is a pleasure to see our state take a leading role in combatting the nation’s gun violence epidemic.”
BCWAC encourages legislators to join Governor Wolf’s effort to battle gun violence by moving several existing bills out of committee.
Many of the deficiencies in our gun laws are addressed in these bills including universal background checks, safe storage (to prevent accidental deaths, especially of children), Extreme Risk Protection Orders to prevent suicides, domestic violence, and mass shootings.
None of these measures take guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens but these simple, common sense laws could save many lives and injuries.
“The Governor has reacted to the carnage of gun violence with more than thoughts and prayers and avoided the usual one-fix solutions and excuses of video games and mental illness,” said Walsh. “His executive order creates a comprehensive, systemic, inclusive, and data-driven framework that could serve as a national model.”