On February 4, 2020, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf dedicated a part of his annual state budget speech to voice his disappointment with the inaction on the part of lawmakers to not pass gun control.
According to US News, Wolf called on “the year we choose to stop being cynical about the politics of gun violence.”
The proposals Wolf put forward include universal background checks on gun sales, mandatory reporting for lost or stolen guns, red flag gun confiscation orders, and improved counseling services for schoolchildren.
“Now I know there’s no law that can eliminate every act of gun violence. But the steps I’m proposing are supported by the evidence — and supported by the vast majority of Pennsylvanians,” Wolf said before a joint session of the Legislature. “We can pass them tomorrow, and, by doing so, we could make our commonwealth safer.”
In response to Wolf’s speech, House Republican spokesman Mike Straub announced that his caucus plans to shift their focus on stiffer criminal penalties for individuals who commit gun-related crimes.
“Working on gun issues must begin with making sure those who should not have firearms in the first place are held accountable,” Straub commented.
Gun politics in Pennsylvania has been heated in recent years.
After a gunman murdered 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue, gun controllers were motivated to take action in Pennsylvania.
However, Republican control of the Senate and the House have presented major obstacles to gun control being passed.
Wolf’s budget proposal aims to allocate $6 million for the purpose of gun violence prevention through a grant the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency runs. Wolf desires an additional $4 million for a Philadelphia-based gun violence task force.
“We have gotten used to seeing bulletproof backpacks advertised during back-to-school sales,” Wolf said in his comments, alluding to school lockdown drills.
“And, unfortunately, we have also gotten used to hearing politicians offer their thoughts and prayers and little else. It’s part of the ritual now, right alongside the somber press conferences where law enforcement officials detail the carnage and the tearful testimonies from friends and family grieving over their lost loved ones,” Wolf stated.
Pennsylvania is currently ranked in 32nd place according to Guns & Ammo Magazine’s Best States for Gun Owners (2019) rankings. The state still has work to do as far as gun rights are concerned.
Instead of entertaining gun control, Pennsylvania needs a liberty conservative-controlled state government. Wolf, his anti-gun Democrat cohorts, and squishy Republicans will all need to go in this scenario.