NEWTOWN >> At a press conference on Feb. 27 in front Council Rock High School North, Steve Santarsiero, Democratic candidate for the 10th State Senate District, joined by students, teachers and community members, called for common sense laws to stop gun violence and protect our children.
Santarsiero proposed a package of five bills “that would make us safer and help prevent mass shootings:” 1) universal background checks; 2) a lost and stolen reporting requirement; 3) “No Fly, No Buy”, which would prohibit people on the terrorist watch list from purchasing firearms; 4) a bill to create a gun violence restraining order process; 5) an assault weapons ban with a buy-back program for existing assault weapons.
“It is past time for our General Assembly to act. We can respect the rights of law-abiding citizens while also passing reasonable laws to stop mass shootings,” Santarsiero said.
Many students attended to voice their support for common sense laws and demand action.
“Enough is enough. We can no longer continue to accept politicians that are fearful of disappointing the NRA. We can no longer accept the NRA owning our politics,” said Vicki Wengler, an 18-year old high school senior at Council Rock High School North.
Santarsiero argued that while these policies should be enacted federally, Pennsylvanians shouldn’t wait on Washington; Harrisburg must act to keep Pennsylvanians safe.
Local teachers were also in attendance to send a message to political leaders.
“It feels so strange to be afraid to go to work. While I do believe that education can prevent and solve so many of our country’s social problems, it is time that our government start doing some of the heavy lifting,” said Kristen Mallon, a social studies teacher at Council Rock High School North.
After the 2012 tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Santarsiero, then a member of the State House, became a leading voice for gun violence prevention. While in the House, he proposed legislation similar to what he called for at today’s press conference. He’s no stranger to this fight.
“Through all these years, Steve Santarsiero has been the champion of this cause. He has fought to ensure that those who should not have a gun no longer have access to one,” said Marie Rosenberg, Chairperson of Bucks Safe.
Santarsiero vowed to fight tirelessly on behalf of this agenda to ensure that the schools and communities in Bucks County and all of Pennsylvania are safe.
Marguerite Quinn, a candidate for State Senate in the 10th District of Pennsylvania, released the following statement in response to Santarsiero’s press conference:
“Today I watched a heartbroken father speak of the tragic shooting that occurred at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. As a mother, I cannot imagine living with the reality of such devastating, senseless loss. We can’t allow the increase of these occurrences to desensitize us; instead we must work together to create lasting change.
“My record is clear: I voted for expanded background checks. I voted for lost and stolen reporting requirements. I voted to bring mental health records into the national background check system to keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them. I believe we need to address shortfalls in the mental health system and help school districts implement better safety measures.
“I am saddened to have to issue this statement in response to my opponent’s politically opportunistic use of recent tragic events. I have always worked in a pragmatic way to develop real solutions to real problems, and this will be no exception. I am inspired by the passion of all those making their voices heard and look forward to working with everyone to build consensus and move forward”