Aug. 16 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, issued the following statement regarding Gov. Tom Wolf’s signing of an executive order to decrease gun violence in Pennsylvania:
“I am beyond grateful that no one was seriously injured in Wednesday’s Philadelphia shooting. It is a testament to the great work of the Philadelphia Police Department that this was the case. But sadly, a second shooting occurred Thursday that left four men and one teenage boy injured, with one of the victims in critical condition. This shooting occurred just two miles away from where the six police officers were shot.
“Unfortunately, Wednesday’s event illustrated a fundamental truth: The prevalence of weapons – like the one used in Wednesday’s attack – make all of us less safe, and that goes double for our police officers. Elected officials almost always like to say that we support our first responders, and I very proudly count myself among that group. That being said, this is a good moment to remind all of us that protecting our police means more than just using the hashtag ‘Blue Lives Matter.’ If you truly believe that ‘Blue Lives Matter,” taking steps to reduce gun violence is a requirement.
“That’s why I strongly support the governor’s executive order. It contains strong and necessary steps to help reduce the scourge of suicides, homicides and mass shootings in Pennsylvania. In particular, I look forward to working with the governor’s office to explore options for Allentown, which has suffered through a spate of gun violence that has been driven by semi-assault weapons and gang violence. As the co-chair of the Suicide Prevention Task Force, I look forward to developing specific recommendations on how to reduce gun violence, and I am particularly pleased with the governor’s concentration on suicide reduction in this executive order.
“However, as the governor correctly notes, these actions aren’t enough. There are additional steps the legislature must take. These include “red flag” laws which would get guns out of the hands of those who are a danger to themselves and others, closing the background check loopholes and banning assault weapons and high capacity guns.
“Last, as someone who is heavily involved in the area of mental health, this seems like a good time to note again that taking steps like the ones above will keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them. Multiple studies have shown that the vast majority of mass shooters are not mentally ill. The stronger connection between mental illness and guns is with suicide. Guns are used by a majority of individuals who die by suicide in this country, and rates of gun ownership are correlated with suicide deaths. If we are serious about suicide prevention, we have to get guns away from those who, in a moment of pain and torment, may use the weapons on themselves.”
Information provided to TVL by:
Senior Media Specialist
PA House of Representatives
Democratic Legislative Communications Office