Getting Tough on Gun Violence

“The horrific violence perpetrated against victims in every corner of our Commonwealth makes clear that we must do more to combat gun violence. Gun trafficking, straw purchases, and gray market gun sales threaten us all by putting weapons in the hands of dangerous people. As Attorney General, I will aggressively pursue the sources of these illegal guns and work with police and prosecutors across Pennsylvania to reduce gun violence.” – Josh Shapiro 

  • Beef up and expand the Gun Violence Task Force beyond Philadelphia’s borders.
  • Establish and implement model gun show procedures.
  • Prosecute prohibited purchasers who fail background checks.
  • Review concealed carry permit reciprocity agreements.
  • Increase awareness of laws against straw purchasing and simplify purchase forms.
  • Expand background checks to cover private sales of long guns.
  • Advocate for a statewide lost or stolen gun reporting requirement.

Beef up and expand the Gun Violence Task Force beyond Philadelphia’s borders

Philadelphia’s Gun Violence Task Force – a joint effort of the District Attorney’s Office and the Office of Attorney General has helped in getting some illegal guns off of Philadelphia’s streets. Unfortunately, many of the sales this task force is targeting occur privately, at gun shops and gun shows outside the city limits. As Attorney General, Shapiro will work with District Attorneys to expand the jurisdiction of this task force so it can more effectively target illegal gun sales where they occur. He will also increase coordination with federal authorities to share information and maximize the charges and sentences for the biggest gun traffickers.

Establish and implement model gun show procedures

In New York, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman worked with gun show operators to establish a set of model gun show procedures. Shapiro will take a similar approach, working with gun show operators to establish a set of model gun show procedures. These procedures will protect 2nd Amendment Rights and ensure that illegal sales do not occur at or in the parking lots of Pennsylvania gun shows and that operators are in compliance with all applicable laws.

Prosecute prohibited purchasers who fail background checks

Prohibited purchasers are barred from buying guns for good reason. Those who lie and fail background checks must be prosecuted aggressively. As Attorney General, Shapiro will work closely with Pennsylvania’s State Police and DA’s to prosecute more of these offenders.

Review concealed carry permit reciprocity agreements

Pennsylvania sets and enforces its own gun laws to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them due to criminal activities or mental health issues. But some get approval to carry from other states and skirt our laws. As Attorney General, Shapiro will carefully review Pennsylvania’s reciprocity agreements and modify or close those that would allow guns into the hands of dangerous people who should not have them under Pennsylvania law.

Increase awareness of laws against straw purchasing and simplify purchase forms

Shapiro will expand funding for the “Straw Purchase Prevention Education Program” to increase awareness about Pennsylvania’s increased penalties for straw purchases under the Brad Fox Law. Additionally, Shapiro will work to simplify the forms gun purchasers must sign certifying that they are purchasing the gun for their own use, so that there can be no doubt about what they are signing or the consequences of signing fraudulently.

Expand background checks to cover private sales of long guns

Expand background checks to cover private sales of long guns. While all handgun sales in Pennsylvania require background checks, private sales of long guns do not. As Attorney General, Shapiro will support legislative efforts to expand Pennsylvania’s background check law to cover sales of long guns as well.

Advocate for a statewide lost or stolen gun reporting requirement

Reporting lost or stolen gun helps police track the guns most likely to be used incrimes and detect traffickers and straw purchasers. While some municipalities passed ordinances requiring notification to local law enforcement, many rolled these back in the face of legal attacks from the NRA and other gun-rights advocates under Act 192, which the Commonwealth Court struck down in June of 2015. A statewide reporting requirement would protect municipalities from these types of attacks and is simply smart policy.