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Pennsylvania

Gov. Tom Wolf promotes bill to restrict domestic abusers' access to guns

Wes Venteicher
| Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, 11:03 a.m.
Gov. Tom Wolf speaks to supporters during a primary election night watch party Tuesday, May 20, 2014, in York, Pa. Wolf announced his support Tuesday for a bipartisan bill to restrict domestic abusers' access to guns.
Gov. Tom Wolf speaks to supporters during a primary election night watch party Tuesday, May 20, 2014, in York, Pa. Wolf announced his support Tuesday for a bipartisan bill to restrict domestic abusers' access to guns.

Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday threw his weight behind a bipartisan bill to restrict domestic abusers' access to guns.

Senate Bill 501 would require anyone who is under an active protection-from-abuse order or who has been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence to hand their guns over to authorities or firearms dealers.

The change would eliminate the option of giving a gun to an acquaintance for safekeeping, and make it a misdemeanor for an acquaintance to accept the firearm. The change would apply to ammunition and other weapons.

“We must protect victims — spouses and children — of domestic violence and attempt to prevent domestic abusers from escalating their violence in everyday places that result in mass murder,” Wolf said in a news release. “It is time for the General Assembly to act on this bipartisan, commonsense legislation to protect victims and reduce violence.”

The law, introduced by state Sen. Thomas Killion, R-Chester County, would require convicted abusers to surrender firearms within 24 hours, rather than the current 60 days.

Killion introduced the bill, co-sponsored by Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills, in January. The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence supports the change. According to the coalition, 57 of the 102 domestic violence victims who died in Pennsylvania in 2016 died from gunshots.

Wes Venteicher is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5676, wventeicher@tribweb.com or via Twitter @wesventeicher.

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