New series of gun laws headed to Pennsylvania House floor

Ten years have come and gone, but the pain of losing her younger brother, Michael, is still the same for Cathy Clarke.

“He was robbed and got up, got in his truck and went after the gentleman, and he shot my brother in the axilla and it went into his heart,” Clarke said.

That also wasn’t the end of her experience with gun violence.

“I was coming out of a client home and three men were shot in front of me,” Clarke said.

Now she’s fighting for her brother by pushing for change.

“You can listen to it on the news and talk about it all you want but it’s such a good feeling to know you did something and it happened,” Clarke said.

Clarke is talking about the passage of a package of four gun bills by the state’s Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

“Bills to require safe storage, requiring reporting lost and stolen firearms, extreme risk protection orders also called red flag laws and universal background checks. We know all these bills together will address the full scope of this gun violence crisis,” said Josh Fleitman with CeaseFire PA.

It’s a historic move by the state as it’s the first time a gun bill has passed in five years as Democrats now hold the majority in the House.

While there is some support on both sides of the aisle, there are others opposed to this group of bills.

“They hide under the guise, saying they are common-sense reforms. The truth is if these passed, many law-abiding citizens would become felons the next day,” said Rep. Aaron Bernstine.

But that won’t stop the push from people like Clarke as she hopes to shield other families from the pain she’s felt.

“You don’t know what it’s like to lose somebody that close until it happens to you. There’s no word,” Clarke said.

Each of the four bills will be voted on individually. That vote could be as soon as next week when the House returns to session.

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