Gun Control

Rod Waddington / flickr

In the middle of the night, Saybah Harris received a text message.

It was a photo of an ambulance with a simple description: It's Foday.

Her only son.

AP

Last weekend, during a protest near Pittsburgh’s Bakery Square, several people online questioned the legality of a man openly carrying a rifle on a public city corner. According to Pennsylvania firearms laws, however, it’s perfectly legal.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The state Senate is considering a plan to allow teachers and other school employees with permits to carry guns at work.

Supporters say it’s about keeping kids safe, while opponents are worried the measure would do just the opposite.

Senate Bill 383 is sponsored by GOP Senator Donald White of Armstrong County, who said it would give schools more options in protecting students.

He added, it could be particularly helpful for rural districts that are far from police stations and might not employ their own security guard.

Gun Rights Rally Puts Concealed Weapons Rules In Crosshairs

May 22, 2017
Marc Levy / AP

Hundreds of gun rights supporters took their cause to the state Capitol on Monday, pushing for an agenda that includes looser rules for carrying concealed weapons.

A "Make the Second Amendment Great Again" rally in the Rotunda brought together state lawmakers, sheriffs and gun rights enthusiasts for what has become an annual event.

Rogelio Solis / AP

The Senate Education Committee has advanced a bill that would give schools in Pennsylvania the option of allowing teachers and other staff to carry concealed guns.

Supporters say it’s a matter of letting schools make the safety decisions that fit them best, while opponents call it irresponsible and unnecessary.

Full Interview With U.S. Senate Candidate Pat Toomey

Nov 4, 2016
Jared Wikerham / AP

With the exception of the presidential campaigns, the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican Pat Toomey and Democratic challenger Katie McGinty is the most expensive in the country. The matchup is being closely watched because it’s one that could tip the balance of power in the Senate in favor of the Democrats. 90.5 WESA’s Paul Guggenheimer talked with Toomey about where he stands on some of the issues including the economy, gun control, foreign policy, energy and the environment.

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Hillary Clinton has chosen Tim Kaine to be her vice presidential running mate. The Virginia senator has been an elected official — including mayor, governor and senator — for over 20 years and was once the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He was also on President Obama's shortlist of running mates in 2008.

Peretz Partensky / flickr

Last month’s shootings at an Orlando nightclub reignited the debate over gun control. Here in the commonwealth, gun advocates feel money can be saved by doing away with the background check system. By leaving this up to the federal government, gun opponents feel public safety could be at risk if this is left up to the federal government. We’ll address the issue with Public Source reporter Jeffrey Benzing.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

On the heels of the sit-in staged by Democrats in the House of Representatives last week, one Pennsylvania Congressman took to the steps of Pittsburgh's City-County Building on Wednesday to renew calls for lawmakers to hold a vote on proposed gun reforms.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Memories Sportsman Shop & Taxidermy Studio has occupied the same small storefront in Sharpsburg since 1990. Owner Sam Stelitano said since the mass shooting at an Orlando night club, he's seen more customers walk through his door.

Tony Urbanek, 46, is a regular at the store. He said he bought his first gun for self-protection when he was young.

Mike Doyle / Twitter

Representative John Lewis is leading Congressional Democrats in a protest of the House's refusal to vote on gun-control measures. What are the origins of House sit-ins and the history behind them? How effective have they been? Will this one work? Franklin and Marshall College Director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs, Terry Madonna joins weighs in.   

Rebellious Democrats Stage Sit-In Protest In The U.S. House

Jun 22, 2016
C-SPAN / house of representatives, U.S. House, house, john lewis, congress, sit in, protest, gun control

Rebellious Democrats shut down the House's legislative work on Wednesday, staging a sit-in on the House floor and refusing to leave until they secured a vote on gun control measures. Exasperated Republicans were forced to recess while cutting off cameras that showed the protest.

Updated at 7:40 p.m. ET with Senate votes

To virtually no one's surprise, the Senate failed to advance any of the four gun control proposals — two offered by Democrats, and two by Republicans — that came in response to last week's mass shooting in Orlando, Fla.

Here are the results:

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Hillary Clinton went on the offensive against Donald Trump in a campaign speech on Pittsburgh’s South Side on Tuesday, denouncing the Republican presidential nominee’s response to the Orlando shooting.

Nicole Fallert / 90.5 WESA

A federal gun control measure introduced Monday with the intention of preventing hate crimes became unexpectedly timely in the aftermath of a deadly mass shooting Sunday morning at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) said he’d been working on the legislation for months and had planned to introduce it later this week, but decided to submit it Monday after the attack by an ISIS-pledged man in Florida claimed at least 49 lives at the Pulse nightclub.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Following the shooting of a police officer in Philadelphia in early January, one state lawmaker is calling on his colleagues to consider legislation that would mandate the reporting of lost or stolen firearms.

“We have no way right now to go out and prosecute and finish a prosecution of a lost or stolen gun, because there is no responsibility on a gun owner to report a lost or stolen gun,” said Sen. Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The gun used in the Jan. 8 shooting of Philadelphia police officer Jesse Hartnett had been stolen from another police officer and reported in 2013. But Farnese said there are many crimes involving firearms in which a reporting law would help law enforcement.

Rod Waddington / flickr

President Obama’s town hall meeting regarding gun violence has stirred up both controversy and conversation among the American public, provoking pro-gun lobbyists and rallying those in favor of gun restrictions.

The Constitutionality Of The President's Executive Order

Jan 6, 2016
M & R Glasgow / flickr

“Executive orders by presidents are very common,” says our guest Wilson Huhn, distinguished professor of Law at the University of Akron who also teaches constitutional law at Duquesne University. He’ll provide us with a constitutional perspective regarding President Obama’s executive order on gun control. 

Interpreting The President's Gun Control Proposal

Jan 6, 2016
Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Images

Each year, 12,000 Americans are gunned down by their fellow citizens.  In the past twenty years, 600,000 Americans have been lost to gun violence—more than the number lost during combat in World War II.  It is for these reasons that President Obama says he’s taken action to tighten gun laws.

In an emotional live speech Tuesday, President Obama addressed his plans for the future of gun control laws and expanding background checks during the buying process, citing recent mass shootings including the incident in Newtown, CT in 2012.

Robert Nelson / Flickr

Pennsylvania Sen. Art Haywood (D-Philadelphia) called on fellow legislators last week to harness the heartbreak and outrage that followed the recent San Bernardino attack and Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting anniversary to support his handgun licensing legislation.

Nothing has been done to address the underlying access to guns, he said.

“Nothing," he said. "Nothing to respond to the killing of innocent children and adults: be it in schools, offices, movies, neighborhoods, walking up and down the street.”

Marcin Wichary / Flickr

Pennsylvania’s Superior Court upheld a nearly six- to 12-year sentence for a Chester woman convicted of illegally buying firearms for her felon boyfriend.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Images

Monday marks the 3rd anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that killed 26 and injured many more. Since 2012, mass shooting have appeared to be on the rise, with recent incidents in San Bernadino and Colorado Springs.

While arguments about gun laws are a major point of contention in these shootings, mental health also remains an important factor. Pennsylvania Congressman Tim Murphy (R-18) has been examining the United States’ mental health laws and has crafted the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015 in an effort to fix the issues of mental health in the country. Murphy joined Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer to explain the law and what it could mean for the US.

Mayor Peduto Pledges to Stand Against NRA Lawsuit

Jan 14, 2015
Heather McClain / 90.5WESA

The new year brings new headlines, including a lawsuit filed today by the National Rifle Association against the City of Pittsburgh. 

Sparked by the passing of Act 192, which allows for suits to be brought against municipalities for passing gun ordinances that are more restrictive than state law, the NRA has brought suits against Pittsburgh and other municipalities, including Philadelphia and Lancaster.

Mayor Bill Peduto joined us in Studio A to discuss the suit. He then went on to discuss other issues including recent events surrounding Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar and new Police Chief Cameron McLay.

For more on the announcement of the NRA lawsuit, follow 90.5 WESA's coverage.

PA Gun Legislation in Limbo

Jan 7, 2015
Keary O. / Flickr

Last November, Governor Corbett signed into law Act 192, which allows Pennsylvania gun enthusiasts and groups to sue communities that have "lost and stolen" ordinances -- local laws requiring gun owners to notify police when a firearm goes missing. The law has supporters and critics. Post-Gazette reporter Chris Potter joins us to look at both sides of the issue.