Allegheny County

Squirrel Hill group pushing for stricter gun laws meets with State Representative

PITTSBURGH — While the man accused of shooting and killing 11 people inside a Pittsburgh synagogue currently stands trial, members of the group Squirrel Hill Stands Against Gun Violence are hard at work pushing for stricter gun control legislation in Pennsylvania.

“We are going to use the fact that many of us have been thinking more about the tragedy 4.5 years ago to raise our voices louder and to make sure that we are heard,” said group Policy Director Dana Kellerman.

Wednesday night, the group met with State Representative Arvind Venkat.

The Allegheny County Democrat briefed the group on four gun safety bills set for a vote in the State House later this month.

“We need everyone together, Republicans and Democrats, to push forward on this,” Venkat said.

Pennsylvania House Bills 338, 714, 731, and 1018 call for the mandatory reporting of lost or stolen guns, universal background checks, the safe storage of firearms, and the use of extreme risk protection orders or red flag laws.

“None of these pieces of legislation will do anything to a responsible gun owner, but they do meaningfully show we can reduce gun violence,” Venkat said.

He is optimistic the bills will pass the Democrat-led House and hopes the Republican-led Senate will seriously consider them.

“Unfortunately, this has become a very politicized issue and a partisan issue, but I don’t think it should be a partisan issue,” Venkat said.

If these four bills pass the House later this month, they will move to the State Senate Judiciary Committee.

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