CeaseFirePA calls for policy change to combat gun violence as Election Day approaches

Gunshots and crime scene tape continue to be the story in the city.

“Every day, all day, young people, older people, innocent bystanders ... We have to get control of the crime in the city,” said Pam Martins.

Voters told Channel 11 they are fed up and want a change.

“We need a national ban on assault weapons like we had in this country. It worked in Australia; they had one mass shooting, passed gun legislation and they had no more mass shooting events,” Craig Householder said.

Many are taking those concerns with them to the polls next Tuesday.

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“There needs to be more of a background check. There needs to be more mental health issues addressed in people that are trying to obtain guns,” Martins said.

CeaseFirePA believes this sharp uptick in recent gun violence can be attributed to policy failure.

“I want people to understand that their vote has power. It’s the most basic way for people to get involved,” said Josh Fleitman, regional director for CeaseFirePA.

Fleitman said there are safer community options on the ballot with candidates on both sides of the aisle that support gun control policies.

“Basic things like red flag law, background checks, requiring guns to be reported if they are lost or stolen, limiting handgun purchases to one per month, having stronger inspections of gun dealers who are consistently being linked to crimes. These are all responsible, lifesaving policies,” Fleitman said.

One thing the group is hopeful will be increased with potential new leaders are inspections of gun owners who are shown to be linked to a large number of guns used in crimes.

“They did a whole study of thousands and thousands of guns that were used in crimes and traced it back to gun dealers who sold those guns. They found shockingly that 90% of the crime guns in [Pennsylvania] were traced back to 20% of gun dealers,” Fleitman said.

Fleitman went on to tell Channel 11 it’s not just looking at policies that may help reduce crime, but also those that could increase crime even more.

He said there are platforms supporting permitless concealed carry weapons, which he fears could cause even more violence.

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