Universal Background Checks
On Monday, April 7th, Colin Goddard, a survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting, addressed a packed general meeting of Delco United after a screening of his powerful documentary, “Living for 32.” Colin gives one of the most compelling, articulate, and eminently sensible explanations of the need for universal background checks that the new gun safety movement has to offer.
The timing of the event was perfect, as the subject of background checks has been churning in Harrisburg due to some recent legislative developments. Here is an update on the situation:
Over the past few weeks we have sent out several Action Requests, asking our supporters to call their State Representatives and urge them to vote for House Bill (HB) 1243 with the Santarsiero amendment if it came up for a vote on the House floor.
We also asked supporters to call Speaker Sam Smith (R) and Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R) to urge them to bring HB 1243 with the Santarsiero amendment to the House floor for a vote.
HB 1243 is a bill that requires that PA share its mental health records with the National Background Check System. The Santarsiero amendment (Amendment A06142) to HB 1243 would amend the legislation to include expanding background checks to cover the private sales of long guns (e.g. buying a military-style assault weapon at a gun show). This is the same provision contained in House Bill 1010, the bill that Delco United has been pushing since our group was founded.
So, what happened in Harrisburg?
To make a long story short, the House Republican leadership used their power to thwart democracy and to ignore the will of the majority of Pennsylvanians who support universal background checks. Speaker Smith and Majority Leader Turzai never allowed our State Representatives to vote on HB 1243 with the Santarsiero amendment.
We can’t read their minds… but it seems that they were really afraid that the bill would pass and that the National Rifle Association (NRA) would be upset with them. Their candidates benefit from the NRA’s money and political operation. Maybe they just didn’t want to force moderate Republicans to have to go on record during an election year.
Now, the legislature is out of session until April 28th. So, it’s a good time for supporters to visit their State Representatives in their home offices to let them know that HB 1243 with the Santarsiero amendment is a top priority.