Recently, it was reported that the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted on an assault weapon ban bill. Please, let me tell you the truth. The vote that occurred several weeks ago was NOT a vote on any particular piece of legislation as some reports might have you believe. It was a vote whether or not to suspend the rules of the House to allow a vote on a piece of legislation from a sponsor who is no longer a member in the House of Representatives. You see, if the maker of the legislation is not present, discussion and debate is not possible. Suspending rules to avoid a fact-based discussion and debate is a far greater threat to our Democracy than guns themselves. In essence, a vote to suspend the rules would have been a vote to quiet your voice regardless of what side you are on. That Pennsylvania House Democrat-led tactic to push a vote without debate would have set a terrible precedent chipping away at the cornerstone of the democratic process we hold so dear.
There is absolutely no question that we must communicate and allow for hard discussions on public safety to occur - but they must occur openly, honestly, frankly, transparently, and in ways which focus on the delivery results not political rhetoric.
Addressing gun violence, mental health, gang violence and the root causes of mass shootings is essential and deserves honest open debate and discussion, not diversion or division generated by either political party.
As a state representative in the House of Representatives, I am proud that Pennsylvania has already taken a proactive stance on and has been a national leader in school safety initiatives, mental health assessment and reporting, which has kept our schools safer. So, when people say to me, why hasn’t the legislature done anything to combat these mass murders, my response is Pennsylvania has been aggressive in addressing this major issue. While tremendous progress has been made to stop these heinous acts before they occur, we all recognize that more needs to happen.
In April 2022, the House of Representatives passed a number of “Smart Justice” legislative bills. These bills will help make communities safer by requiring prosecution and the strict enforcement of the written laws already on the books.
It’s time to put politics aside, stop shouting at each other, and start working together.