State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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State lawmakers inch toward toughening gun laws

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | May 22, 2018 5:52 AM
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Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree changes are warranted when it comes to gun laws and school safety. However, they often disagree about the right course of action. (Photo by AP)

 

(Harrisburg) -- With the state House and Senate both back in Harrisburg, lawmakers are turning their attention to a number of gun control and school safety bills.

The effort comes in the wake of a Texas school shooting that killed 10 people last week -- the nation's largest since the Florida shooting that claimed 17 lives in February.

When House lawmakers finish up a series of public hearings on gun control, House GOP Spokesman Steve Miskin said a number of stalled bills will start moving--likely in the "first week or two in June."

One priority is a measure that would make it harder for convicted domestic abusers to possess weapons. It already passed the Senate, and Miskin said the House is solidly behind it.

Less certain is a bill letting schools arm teachers or other employees who complete mandated training.

The Senate passed it, but Governor Tom Wolf and most Democratic lawmakers oppose it--as do gun control groups, who say it wouldn't make schools safer.

Miskin said it would give schools more safety options--and he noted, related talks about expanding existing school safety grants are ongoing.

"A number of schools throughout Pennsylvania are 20 to 30 minutes away from the closest police station," he said.

Senators are also considering a bill that would create an anonymous reporting system for potential threats in schools.

Governor Tom Wolf is backing his own reform priorities.

Along with urging the House to act on the bill to keep guns from domestic abusers, he's pushing hard for a measure that would stop allowing firearms to be purchased at gun shows without a background check.

That bill has inspired strong opposition from some Republicans.

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