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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: February 26, 2016 02:06 PM
From: Senator Patricia H. Vance
To: All Senate members
Subject: Memo #22 Firearm Relinquishment in Cases of Protection From Abuse & Conviction of Misdemeanor Crimes of Domestic Violence
Please join me in co-sponsoring legislation designed to enhance safety for all parties involved in Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders and convictions of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence that require relinquishment of firearms. Specifically, the bill amends Title 18 and Title 23 only in the proceedings in these very narrow areas.
In Title 18, sections 6105, 6106, and 6115 are amended.
In Title 23, sections 6102, 6106, 6107, and 6108 are amended.

This targeted amendment is very simple; removing third-party safekeeping as an option for a defendant ordered by the Court to relinquish firearms, weapons and ammunition. Moving forward, firearms shall only be relinquished to the County Sheriff or other law enforcement agency or to a Federal Firearms Licensed dealer. No longer would a person be able to transfer the firearms to a relative, friend, neighbor, etc. Defendants in final PFA cases would be required to surrender their firearms.

The bill would also strengthen existing surrender policy of convicted abusers to require surrender within 24 hours upon conviction of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. Current law stipulates relinquishment within 60 days.

The intent of this change in law is to extend greater peace of mind for parties in domestic violence and PFA situations. Enhancing their safety during these difficult times helps not only these families but also indirectly law enforcement charged with overall public safety.

Making this change has been a priority for the PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The organization has discussed and negotiated language for almost a year with various stakeholders including Sheriffs, District Attorneys, Chiefs of Police, the State Police, and various gun ownership organizations.

Should you have any questions, please contact my office at 787-8524.

Introduced as SB1182