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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 22, 2018 10:39 AM
From: Representative Jason Dawkins
To: All House members
Subject: Statewide Notification of Domestic Violence Abusers Purchasing Firearms
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation to create a statewide notification system to alert victims of domestic violence, the general public, and law enforcement agencies when a known domestic violence abuser attempts to purchase or transfer a gun at a licensed firearms dealer.

Unfortunately, there is a strong link between a history of domestic violence and homicide. Experts consider these types of killings among the most predictable and preventable of all murders because they often follow well-established patterns. For instance, across the nation, more than half of all mass shootings between 2009 and 2016 were related to domestic or family violence. According to the Center for Disease Control, not only are most murders of women linked to domestic violence, 54 percent involves a firearm.

Specifically, my legislation directs the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) to establish the Domestic Violence Firearm Purchase Notification System. Licensed firearm dealers would be required to contact PSP within 24 hours when an individual who has been charged with or convicted of a domestic violence-related offense attempts to purchase or transfer a firearm. PSP’s notification system would automatically notify the abuser’s victim, law enforcement, and any person registered to receive notifications via telephone or e-mail.

Additionally, my bill includes a provision authorizing the court to issue a search warrant if the abuser fails to relinquish firearms he or she possesses. Unlike New Jersey, law enforcement in Pennsylvania have no authority to proactively seize firearms from an individual who is ordered to relinquish them through a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order. It’s currently based on the honor system, which requires an abuser to sign an affidavit saying he or she does not possess any firearms.

While around three women a day are murdered by an intimate partner nationwide, in many cases, children and others are also killed. Notifying survivors of domestic violence when a known abuser attempts to illegally purchase a firearm allows them to more accurately plan for their own safety and the safety of those closest to them. Unfortunately, in many cases, this is a matter of life and death.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB2097