State senator: Lawmakers have 'done nothing' to reduce gun violence

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A Pennsylvania lawmaker from Philadelphia and Montgomery County is frustrated with what he would call the inaction of his colleagues in taking action to reduce gun violence.

It has been three years since the massacre at Sandy Hook school in Connecticut. Since then, State Senator Art Haywood lamented Monday, Pennsylvania lawmakers have done "nothing, nothing to respond."

He wants his colleagues to embrace Senate Bill 1029 to create something called a Firearm Eligibility License.

If law it would require would be handgun purchasers and, as now written, almost all handgun owners in Pennsylvania to do four things, the first being going to a law enforcement agency.

"Like a police station, and apply for the license. You may know a bunch of people who would not want to go to a police station and apply for any kind of license," Haywood said.

Applicants would be fingerprinted, subject to a background check, and required to take a gun safety course.

Haywood predicts it would have a negative impact on straw purchases.

"These four factors: going to the police station, getting your fingerprints, getting your background check, these all discourage individuals who would otherwise resell a gun to a criminal," Haywood said.

Supporters say the measure is similar to what New Jersey has. They point out the Garden State has a per capita gun death rate half that of Pennsylvania's.

The mother of an 18-year-old killed in a case of mistaken identity is convinced the bill would be a good thing.

"My son was killed by two boys who could not have gotten a gun legally because of previous criminal records. Two boys were having a beef over a girl they thought my son was coming back to retaliate; my son was there to pick up his sister, he did not even know these people and they put four bullets in my son," Motiva Johnson-Harrell said.

If this bill comes up for a hearing in Harrisburg, there will be critics. The NRA is already taking a dim view of it and is urging its members to contact lawmakers.
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