Gov. Wolf signs executive order aimed at addressing gun violence

 

Legislators at the signing called it a first-of-its-kind in the country. Governor Tom Wolf says this isn't a reaction to the recent shootings in Philadelphia, but the result of a months-long look into gun violence and the best way to address it.

Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order Friday morning that he says will make sweeping changes of executive branch agencies and programs to better target gun violence.

"We need to do something to stop gun violence across Pennsylvania," he said.

The nearly two dozen initiatives and reforms fall into four primary categories: New oversight and data sharing, reducing community gun violence, combating mass shootings, and addressing gun-related incidents and self-inflicted shootings.

Wolf also appointed former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey as the head of the new office of Gun Violence Prevention.

"If we wait for the federal level for something to happen, it won't happen anytime soon," Ramsey said.

This comes after Wednesday's violence in Philadelphia that made national news.

Six officers were shot when a man opened fire with an AR-15 in the Tioga-Nicetown section of the city.

Five more people were shot less than two miles away Thursday.

Wolf postponed the signing because of it but adds it isn't in relation to the shootings but a months-long effort at ways to curb gun violence.

"The Second Amendment does not supersede life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," Wolf said.

The governor is also calling on the legislature to pass a series of gun laws that include universal background checks and requiring all lost and stolen guns to be reported.

The Press Secretary to the PA House Majority Whip, a Republican, did say the state's existing background check already exceeds the federal government.

He adds there are gun reform bills in committees that address the issue. However, Democrats say they need to be voted on.