Gun legislation will protect victims of domestic violence

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Editor's note: The following message was directed to members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from PA Rep. Marguerite Quinn, a Republican representing District 143, which serves Bucks County.

Please join me in co-sponsoring legislation designed to strengthen the Protection from Abuse (PFA) Act and convictions of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence that require relinquishment of firearms.

Specifically, this legislation will amend Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) and Title 23 (Domestic Relations) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes.

This targeted amendment is designed to limit the third-party safekeeping options available to convicted domestic abusers. Under this legislation an individual found guilty and sentenced before a judge would be required to relinquish any and all firearms in their possession, narrowing the window of time in which convicted abusers would have to relinquish their weapons from 60 days to 48 hours for an individual convicted of the misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. The defendant would be prohibited from turning over their weapons to a family member or friend and instead would be required to relinquish them to law enforcement, an authorized gun dealer, or an attorney.

The intent of this change in law is to enhance safety for victims of domestic violence and their children as well as law enforcement and the greater community during the most dangerous time — when a victim seeks help. This legislation is especially timely due to the scourge of shootings in our country and their links to domestic violence.

Making this change is a priority for the PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The organization has discussed the provisions in this proposed legislation with various stakeholders including sheriffs, district attorneys, chiefs of police, and the Pennsylvania State Police.

This legislation will be similar to the current Senate Bill 501 (Killion).

Representative Marguerite Quinn

Doylestown, Pa.

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