Gov. Tom Wolf expected to launch gun initiatives |

Gov. Tom Wolf expected to launch gun initiatives

Tawnya Panizzi
Gov. Tom Wolf is expected to sign an executive order intended to combat gun violence in the state on Aug. 16, 2019.

Gov. Tom Wolf is expected today to launch sweeping reforms that tackle gun violence in the wake of Wednesday’s melee in which a gunman wounded six Philadelphia police officers.

Calling it a public health crisis, Wolf said he will sign an executive order to make broad changes to executive branch agencies and programs that address mass shootings, community gun violence and data sharing.

He is expected to sign the order at 10 a.m. in Harrisburg.

“No criminal should have access to enough weapons and ammunition to hold dozens of police officers at bay for nearly 8 hours,” Wolf tweeted on Thursday.

“We must address the many underlying issues that cause gun violence. We must stop people who want to harm themselves or others from accessing guns.”

Wolf will be joined by Charles Ramsey, chair of the state commission on crime and delinquency, who will guide the implementation of nearly two dozen initiatives.

New state offices will be created to focus on violence prevention and expand programs that promote safety. Other departments will refocus efforts on combatting gun violence and increasing data sharing between the public, government agencies and other states.

“Too many Pennsylvanians are losing their lives to gun violence, and even more Pennsylvanians’ lives are being disrupted by the terror and fear caused by gun violence,” Wolf said. “We simply are not doing enough to stop people from dying and to give communities the peace of mind that they deserve.”

More than 1,600 people died in Pennsylvania from gunshot wounds in 2017, which falls above the national average.

Wolf’s office said guns account for the weapon used in 74% of all homicides and 52% of fatal suicides in Pennsylvania.

In addition to his call for a federal assault weapons ban, Wolf said he also will call upon legislators to enact safe storage laws and the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, and mandate universal background checks by state police on all gun purchases.

Tawnya Panizzi is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tawnya at 412-782-2121 x1512, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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