Reducing Gun Suicides and Mass Shootings
Last week I joined survivors of gun violence at a forum to discuss solutions for reducing gun deaths in this country.
During this event held in Chadds Ford, Jennifer Lugar spoke about losing her husband, Scott, to gun suicide. Starr Cummin Bright, who was shot while attending church, discussed the decades of pain caused by her shooting. Their stories were tragic and powerful, and they vividly demonstrated the toll of everyday gun violence.
Jim Melwert of KYW News moderated the event, and Erin Buchner of Moms Demand Action PA joined the panelists. The event was organized by Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action PA.
Much of the discussion focused on Red Flag laws. These laws, which are in effect in seventeen states and the District of Columbia, allow law enforcement and loved ones to petition our courts to temporarily remove firearms from dangerous and disturbed individuals.
Identifying the “red flags” displayed by individuals in crisis and temporarily removing firearms during dangerous situations helps reduce the likelihood of gun suicides and mass shootings. I have proposed a Red Flag law in Pennsylvania, Senate Bill 90, and I am working to pass this lifesaving legislation.
One hundred people die every day from gun violence in the United States, and hundreds more are shot and injured. Sixty percent of gun deaths are suicides. Red Flag laws help prevent these gun deaths.
Hearing Jennifer Lugar and Starr Cummin Bright bravely share their stories reminds us how a Red Flag law would have made a difference in their lives and why Pennsylvania needs this law now.
You will find a news article about last week’s forum with gun violence survivors HERE.
An editorial about this forum can be found HERE.
A video of this event is HERE.
More information about my Red Flag legislation is HERE.
Deana’s Law Update
On September 25th I hosted a meeting in Harrisburg to discuss Deana’s Law. This law is named after Deana Eckman who was tragically killed in February by a drunk driver with five previous DUIs. The individual who killed Deana was convicted of his sixth DUI this summer stemming from this accident.
Law enforcement representatives and DUI experts from around the state attended this key stakeholder meeting to discuss my legislation. I was truly honored to have Deana’s husband, Chris, and her parents, Rich and Roseann DeRosa, travel to the state Capitol to participate in the meeting.
Deana’s Law would do several things to discourage repeat drunk driving in Pennsylvania, including:
Deana’s Law, which is designated as Senate Bill 773 after the month and year of Deana’s birth, has been referred to the Senate Transportation Committee for consideration. I will continue to push for passage of this critically important legislation.
Hearing on Dangerous Dog Legislation
On September 24th the Pennsylvania Senate’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee held a hearing on my legislation to better protect the public from dangerous dogs.
I proposed this legislation, Senate Bill 798, after hearing from area residents about severe injuries resulting from horrific dog attacks. Testifying at this hearing were Chester County residents Sarah Hermans, Melissa Barnes and Molly Carroll Newton.
Under current law, a victim, the state dog warden or a police officer may file a complaint with a magisterial district judge charging the dog owner with the summary offense of harboring a dangerous dog. In addition to proving that the dog in question has severely injured a person or domestic animal, it must be demonstrated that the dog has a violent history or propensity to attack. This element of the offense often requires litigating the dog’s personality and temperament.
Owners of dangerous dogs are obligated to, among other requirements, keep the animals leashed or within fencing, have the dog spayed or neutered and pay an annual registration fee.
Senate Bill 798 would require only that victims or authorities prove in court that the dog inflicted serious injury without provocation to secure a conviction. The legislation also raises the annual registration fee for a dangerous dog to $1,000 from the current $500.
A news article about this hearing can be found HERE.
You will find a video of the hearing on my dangerous dog legislation HERE.
More information about my dangerous dog legislation can be found HERE.
Senior Expo a Huge Success
On October 3rd Representative Chris Quinn and I hosted our annual Senor Expo on the campus of Penn State Brandywine. With a record number of attendees and exhibitors, this event was a huge success.
Valuable information for older adults in our area was provided by eighty local organizations and government agencies. This expo has become one of our largest annual events, and I am pleased so many individuals look forward to attending every year.
Below are photos from this year’s Senior Expo. We hope to see you at our 2020 expo next fall!
Among the programs 49 different types of reportable events, the top three report categories are bullying/cyber bullying (3558), cutting/self-harm (2529), and suicide/suicide ideation (2184). Violent threats toward a school (607), general harassment (574), and threats against a person (523) are also reported, but less frequently than reports of self-harm. The need for increased mental health resources for students is reflected in the report.
Self-led training, in-person training, and an interactive video are available to students, parents, and educators. Training involves the recognition of the signs and signals of individuals exhibiting behavior s risky to themselves or others and how to anonymously report the potential crisis. Anonymous reports may be submitted to 1-844-SAF2SAY (1-844-723-2729). The programs app is available for Apple and Android phone.
Assistance for Veterans
I partner with the Pennsylvania American Legion every month to assist local veterans at my Brookhaven office. A representative from this organization will be helping veterans with issues on:
Date: Wednesday, October 30th
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Location: Senator Killion’s Brookhaven Office, 4110 Edgmont Avenue, Brookhaven, PA
I encourage veterans and their families who have questions about benefits and programs to schedule an appointment during these assistance hours. Appointments can be made by contacting my office at (610) 447 – 3163. This service is offered the fourth Wednesday of each month.
How I Can Help
My offices provide many services to families in our area. Here are some of the ways we can help.
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