HARRISBURG, Jan. 8, 2014 – A just-finished report on violence prevention in Pennsylvania should be acted upon as soon as the legislature returns to session Jan. 13, state Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione said today in a letter to a key lawmaker.

The “Report of the Advisory Committee on Violence Prevention” listed 44 recommendations in its 295-page report.

Tartaglione said one of the panel’s important suggestions is to require gun owners to promptly report lost or stolen firearms.

The Philadelphia Democrat has proposed two bills to shut down the illicit ownership of found or stolen firearms. Her first measure, Senate Bill 810, would require weapon owners to report lost or stolen guns within 24 hours of their disappearance. Senate Bill 811 would require people who sell or transfer firearms in Philadelphia to register those transactions with state police.

“This is not a problem isolated to larger cities, but is widespread in cities of all sizes, economies and demographics throughout the state,” Tartaglione said in a letter to Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the author of a resolution that brought the study of violence in the commonwealth.

“I believe, as do the members of the Joint State Government Commission, that requiring a 24-hour reporting requirement for lost or stolen firearms is a necessary public duty that we can no longer ignore. As such, I am requesting your assistance in the movement of S.B. 810 from the Judiciary Committee,” she wrote.

The Joint State Government Commission’s report on violence in Pennsylvania was ordered by the adoption nearly a year ago of Senate Resolution 6 “to conduct a thorough and comprehensive analysis of violent crime and mass shootings, as well as other topics related to those issues.”

The report calls its 44 recommendations “realistic policy and statutory steps that can improve prevention and augment responsiveness to sudden, sensational outbursts of violence in schools and other public gathering places, ensuring safer schools and preventing those persons most likely to act out violently from doing so.”

Recommendation #20 would “add a new provision to the Uniform Firearms Act to require prompt reporting of lost or stolen firearms.”

The committee confirmed that it is difficult to quantify the number of lost and stolen guns from private individuals. However, under U.S. law, federal firearms licensees are required to report the theft or loss of any firearm to the ATF within 48 hours.

In 2012, Pennsylvania was the leader in the number of lost or stolen firearms from federal firearms licensees at 1,502. That was nearly 10 percent of all lost or stolen firearms in that category in the country, the study says. Texas, Maryland and New York were the other top states.

“Not only is the intent of SB 810 a direct recommendation of the report released by the Joint State Government Commission’s Advisory Committee on Violence Prevention, but also, this legislation serves as a critical step in making the commonwealth a safer place for everyone who visits, works in and lives here,” Tartaglione said.

To read the committee’s full report, click here.


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