Governor Tom Wolf ceremonially signed House Bill 2060 into law Wednesday, tightening rules that determine when and how a convicted domestic abuser can turn in their firearms. According to the Governor’s office, Wolf had actually already signed the bill October 12 “due to the urgency of enacting the legislation.”
Under the new law, a person convicted of domestic abuse will have 24 hours to give their firearms to a law enforcement agency, authorized gun dealer or an attorney. The law also allows a victim of domestic violence to extend a Protection From Abuse order while their abuser is incarcerated.
Previously, convicted domestic abusers had 60 days to give up their guns, which could have been given to a friend or family member. Victim advocates argued that injury or death could occur during this time frame.
The legislation was hailed as common sense by legislators on both sides of the aisle, and the prime sponsor was Republican State Representative Marguerite Quinn of Bucks County.
Nicole Molinaro Karaczun, president and CEO of the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, said this legislation will save lives.
“It really makes a difference to anybody who is a victim or survivor of intimate partner violence,” she said.
Bethany Wingerson, director of domestic violence services at the Center for Victims, said this is a step in the right direction. However, she said people who want to harm their victims don’t need a gun to do so.
“Although this is taking a very lethal weapon in a more effective way out of the hands of a perpetrator, its not necessarily disarming them from being violent,” she said.
Wingerson said there’s still a lot of advocacy and education to be done to curb domestic violence.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than half of female homicide victims were killed because of intimate partner violence.