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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 5, 2019 09:58 AM
From: Representative Thomas P. Murt
To: All House members
Subject: Expanding the Gun Violence Task Force (GVTF)
I am certainly vulnerable when I sit down with parents who have lost their children to gun violence. The emotion that they experience is so foreign to me that I find it very hard to say the right things.”
  • Michael Skolnik
The problem of gun violence is one of the most serious challenges to public health and safety in our Commonwealth. The Gun Violence Task Force (GVTF) investigates and prosecutes firearm trafficking, straw purchase of firearms, the movement of illegal guns and violent gun crimes.

The Task Force is a Philadelphia city-wide, joint task force with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. The Unit is comprised of seasoned investigators, criminal analysts and experienced Assistant District Attorneys. The GVTF handles four types of cases: PICs (Pennsylvania Instant Check System) Offenses, Straw Purchases of Firearms, Illegal Transfer of Firearms and Incidents and Patterns of Gun Violence.

The GVTF has been VERY successful in getting illegal guns off Philadelphia streets and out of the hands of dangerous criminals. The statistics from the GVTF are impressive and the GVTF is one of the most successful tools we currently have in addressing gun violence. With limited resources in the fight against gun violence, we need to utilize approaches that are proven to be effective and successful. The GVTF is such a program.

At the present time, the GVTF is limited in jurisdiction to Philadelphia. The GVTF has been so successful that its jurisdiction needs be expanded to other counties outside of Philadelphia that are experiencing higher levels of gun violence.

After consulting with the AG’s office, I will soon introduce legislation that may expand the jurisdiction of the GVTF to Allegheny, Dauphin, and Lehigh counties. Such an expansion will be the decision of the Board of County Commissioners in each county. This incremental step will allow these counties to fight back against gun violence which has impacted many Commonwealth cities and communities including Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Allentown.

Please join me in sponsoring this important legislation and expanding a proven approach in addressing gun violence.

Introduced as HB1365