by Karen Sangillo
State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) hosted a press conference on June 9th at the Lower Makefield Township Municipal complex announcing his new bill to legislate a ban on military-style assault weapons.
The bill, SB 1300, will broaden the scope of what the state classifies as assault weapons, banning more than 150 gun models.
It will also ban the sale of gun magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds and will provide for a voluntary buy-back program for individuals who currently own firearms that would no longer be permitted.
It requires individuals a minimum of 21 years of age receive a certificate of possession from the Pennsylvania State Police within 180 days of the bill’s effective date.
Persons without certificates would be required to turn over their assault weapon to a law enforcement agency.
Certificates could be revoked by the state police or other law enforcement for good cause.
Owners would be required to safely store their assault weapons when not under the direct control of the owner.
The first offense would be considered a first-degree misdemeanor.
Possession of an assault weapon after a certificate has been revoked would be a third-degree misdemeanor, and a subsequent offense would be a third-degree felony.
“Military-style weapons have no place in civilian society,” Steve said. “Easy access to assault weapons is one of the greatest threats to the health and safety of Pennsylvanians.
“With each passing day that we fail to enact reasonable gun reforms, we are choosing to protect the gun lobby and firearms manufacturers over the lives of all Pennsylvanians. Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, Pennsylvania has taken no meaningful action to keep our children safe with reasonable gun safety measures. That must change.”
Santarsiero was joined at the podium by fellow senators Sharif Street (D-3), John Kane (D-9) and Amanda Cappelletti (D-17), who all spoke in support of the bill.
Also speaking in support were Pennsbury elementary school teacher Nicole Pierce, Kimberly Everett, executive director of the Bucks County Health Improvement Partnership, Delaware County district attorney Jack Stollsteimer, Penelope Ettinger, executive director of the Network of Victim Assistance in Bucks County, Adam Garber, executive director of CeaseFire PA, Dr. Andrea Fellerman Kesack, a Republican urging bipartisan support of the bill, and Reverend Steve McComas, pastor of Rolling Hills United Methodist Church in Pipersville.
Steve is also the prime sponsor of bills requiring universal background checks (SB 88), safe storage of firearms (SB 581, SB 582) as well as a bill to repeal Pennsylvania’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law (SB 546).
“The time for talking is at an end,” he said. “It’s time to act. It’s time for each and every person to take responsibility and act.”
PHOTO CAP: State Senator Steve Santarsiero at the press conference.