Pa. legislature taking different paths on gun measures

Written by Rachel McDevitt/Radio Pennsylvania | Jan 6, 2016 9:26 AM

Mike Wenger looks at a Smith and Wesson M&P Shield on Thursday November 19, 2015. The store has seen the sale of compact pistols, which are easier to conceal, after the terror attacks in Paris. Jeremy Long, Lebanon Daily News

(Harrisburg) -- State lawmakers are divided after President Obama announced his executive order on gun control.

Republican Representative Will Tallman of Adams and Cumberland counties introduced a bill in the last session that would have prohibited enforcement of gun regulations enacted through the president's executive action.

He says yesterday's order will restrict freedom to purchase a weapon, claiming it's based on fears that have been blown out of proportion.

"If we looked at gun violence history, I don't there's an epidemic," he says.

Though the total number of firearm-related deaths in the country has decreased since a peak in the early 1990s, Democratic Representative Steve Santarsiero of Bucks County says the U.S. still has a much higher rate of gun violence than other advanced countries. 

"I believe that there is a direct correlation between that fact and the fact we do not have reasonable gun safety legislation," he says.

Santarsiero has previously introduced a measure to require background checks in all firearm sales.

He's still trying to build support for the proposal, saying President Obama's executive action should be backed up with legislation.

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