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Pennsylvania State Senate
http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=S&SPick=20130&cosponId=10341
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MEMORANDUM

Posted: December 27, 2012 09:53 AM
From: Senator Stewart Greenleaf
To: All Senate members
Subject: Task Force on the Prevention of Violence
 
On December 11th I circulated a cosponsorship memo for the reintroduction of Senate Resolution 8 of last session.  Senate Resolution 8 directs the Joint State Government Commission to establish an advisory committee to review proposals that address the issue of violent crime.  It gives the advisory committee two years to report back to the Senate.  Many of you have signed on to this resolution as cosponsors and I appreciate your support on this issue.
 
This memo is to provide you with notice that I am changing the format of the study, expanding the focus of the study, and shortening the time for completion of the study.  Many of you have been circulating cosponsorship memos for legislation that further restricts access to firearms.  These proposals are understandable given the terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and other mass shootings in recent months and years.  However, it is my belief that further regulation of firearms is only part of the issue. Firearms are not the cause of violence; they are the instrument that is used. Ironically Connecticut has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation but those laws did not prevent the Sandy Hook school tragedy.
 
I am revising Senate Resolution 8 so that when it is reintroduced it will establish a Task Force on the Prevention of Violence to study the underlying causes of mass shootings and other violent crimes.  There are some common themes in many of these cases; mental illness and a history of being bullied are often involved.  So, in addition to looking at the gun regulation proposals that are being introduced, I believe that we must look at proposals to strengthen our mental health laws so that people receive treatment before they commit criminal acts and we must see if there is more that we can do to combat bullying including cyberbullying.
 
Additional restrictions on firearms is not a failsafe solution to these tragedies, we must investigate other practices and policies that will prevent violent crime.  Of course, the task force is not restricted from looking at other steps that we can take to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and people with severe mental illness.
 
Because this a multipronged issue, I believe that the task force proposal makes sense.  The Task Force on the Prevention of Violence will be similar to the legislation that established the Task Force on Child Protection in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal.  The task force will be composed of experts on the subject of preventing violence and in addressing issues such as mental illness and bullying.  They will be asked to report back to the General Assembly in a matter of months so that the General Assembly may consider the task force’s report and recommendations later in 2013.  I am confident that the Joint State Government Commission will do the same admirable job staffing the Task Force on the Prevention of Violence as it did for the child protection task force.
 
Because of our new system for cosponsorship memos, if you have already signed on as a cosponsor for the reintroduction of Senate Resolution 8 and you would like to cosponsor the revised resolution, please feel free to respond to this memo by joining me in sponsoring the revised resolution.  If you have not yet cosponsored the reintroduction of Senate Resolution 8 and like this new approach, I welcome your support and hope that you will respond to this new memo.  In the meantime if you have any suggestions regarding the resolution and task force, please feel free to contact my office.


Introduced as SR6