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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 3, 2017 02:43 PM
From: Senator Thomas H. Killion
To: All Senate members
Subject: Enhancing Safety For All Parties Involved In Protection From Abuse (PFA) Orders/Convictions 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, this legislation will amend Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) and Title 23 (Domestic Relations) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes only in proceedings in these narrow areas: Sections 6105, 6106, and 6115 of Title 18 and Sections 6102, 6106, 6107, and 6108 of Title 23.

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 enhance safety for parties and their children in domestic violence and PFA situations. Enhancing their safety during these difficult times helps not only these families but also law enforcement charged with overall public safety.

Making this change is 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 Pennsylvania State Police, and various gun ownership organizations.

This legislation will be similar to Senate Bill 1182 (Vance) from the 2015-16 Legislative Session.

Introduced as SB501