Dem. Lawmakers Call on Gov. Wolf to Convene Special Session
Harrisburg, PA (WENY)-- Several Democratic State Representatives are calling on Governor Tom Wolf to convene a special legislative session to address gun violence and vote on gun reform Bills.
Wednesday afternoon, Representatives Kevin Boyle (D-172), Malcolm Kenyatta (D-181), Danielle Friel Otten (D-155), Robert Freeman (D-136), and Joe Webster (D-150) came together to request a special session. The group is asking the rest of the legislature to get on board in calling for the Governor to convene a special House and Senate session.
Some of the proposed gun laws sitting in the legislature right now include universal background checks for all firearms, Extreme Risk Protection Orders, increasing funding for mental health services, and a ban on AR-15’s and other high-powered weapons. The Extreme Risk Protection Order would allow families, law enforcement, and the courts to temporarily restrict access to guns for people at risk of harming themselves or others.
The lawmakers say the special session is necessary following the two most recent mass shootings in Dayton Ohio and El Paso Texas, in which a combined 31 people died. All five of the Representatives involved in today's announcement delivered the same message: action needs to be taken now.
"Let’s call us back into work because we’re ready to get to work, we’re ready to do everything in our power to get this done," says Rep. Kenyatta.
"Vacation’s over. Duty has called. Let’s do the work that we were sent here to do, and let’s not wait one minute," Rep. Friel Otten says.
"We have to act. It’s our duty as legislators, it’s our duty as citizens, to make for a safer Commonwealth, safer communities, and safer families," Rep. Freeman explains.
When asked if the Governor would consider calling a special session to address the issue, his Press Secretary J.J. Abbott released the following statement: "The governor is open to calling a special session if there are commitments to allow votes on critical reforms that will save lives. Without such an agreement, there is no guarantee of action. However, what is desperately needed is broader recognition that change is necessary to protect all Pennsylvanians. Gun violence is a crisis that shows itself not just in mass shootings like Tree of Life, El Paso or Dayton, but in community gun crimes, suicides by gun and domestic violence. There is much more we can do, and Governor Wolf stands ready to work with legislative leaders to act on behalf of the people of Pennsylvania, regardless of the mechanism."
Governor Wolf is holding a remembrance ceremony for all gun-violence victims Wednesday evening inside the Capitol building. He's calling on federal and state lawmakers to pass gun law reforms.