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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 8, 2021 01:38 PM
From: Representative Stephen Kinsey and Rep. Darisha K. Parker
To: All House members
Subject: Firearm Safety Training
In 2018, more than 1,600 Pennsylvanians died by gun violence and this past year in Philadelphia alone, there have been almost 500 deaths related to gun violence, making it 40 percent higher than in 2019. Additionally, over the last 10 years, the overall gun death rate in Pennsylvania has increased 20 percent, part of which can be contributed to the lack of safety training regarding firearms.

We believe many of these deaths in our Commonwealth could have been prevented if we had implemented firearm safety training which is why we are introducing legislation that requires any individual who would like to purchase a firearm to first receive safety training from an instructor who has been certified by the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP). Purchasers would then be required to take a written objective test covering firearm laws and safety. If an individual passes the test, a purchaser would be provided a firearm safety certificate which would be valid for five years. If an individual fails to pass the test, he or she may retake the test 24 hours later after receiving additional firearm training from the instructor. It is important to note that law enforcement officials would be exempt from these requirements.

It is our belief that it is not unreasonable to require individuals who obtain firearms to have a basic familiarity with and understanding of their use and operation. Furthermore, we should also ensure that firearm owners understand how to safely store and handle the weapons, as well as the fundamental legal aspects of firearm possession, carry and use, self-defense, and the use of deadly force. By requiring firearm safety certificates prior to purchasing firearms, we can promote safe and responsible firearm ownership in the Commonwealth and, thereby, limit the number of unintentional injuries and deaths that result from the unsafe storage and handling of firearms.

Please join us in co-sponsoring this legislation that would make Pennsylvania a safer place for everyone. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Introduced as HB872