HARRISBURG—Senate Judiciary Chair Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20th) issued the following statement regarding a legislative response to mass shootings:
“The rising and devastating toll from mass shootings obligates officials at every level to determine potentially effective remedies. That means not only examining what can be constitutionally accomplished in respect to weapons and ammunition, but the dire need to upgrade mental health services and to confront the climate of hate and bias that encourages supremacists and others to act in violent and destructive ways.
The notion that state leaders have been blind and dumb to community concern and outcry is misplaced. A variety of bills have passed in the last year, more have been introduced, and other substantive pieces are close. We recognize as well that there are sharply conflicting perspectives between the regions of Pennsylvania and within communities themselves on various approaches. Our challenge and responsibility is to forge a consensus on any potential changes to current laws, regulations, and funding.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will be holding a series of public hearings intended as a prelude to action. Advocates and opponents will have the chance to make their respective cases in full spotlight and answer the hard questions about their positions.
While every citizen feels urgency about action, the choices we make must be applicable across the state. A patchwork of local ordinances will prove more troublesome for law-abiding citizens than it will any impediment to individuals determined to act out on their rage.
In looking at new requirements or restrictions, we also must evaluate how recent steps have been implemented and whether they are making a measurable difference. Taking symbolic steps sends a message, but it ultimately does not save lives. Something unworkable or unenforceable or unable to withstand a legal challenge does not provide the real protection our constituents are demanding.”