Gov. Wolf creates new offices to reduce gun violence

By OWEN WALSH
Posted 8/19/19

HARRISBURG, PA— Gov. Tom Wolf signed an executive order on August 16 to “target the public health crisis of gun violence in Pennsylvania.” 

The order implements two new …

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Gov. Wolf creates new offices to reduce gun violence

Posted

HARRISBURG, PA— Gov. Tom Wolf signed an executive order on August 16 to “target the public health crisis of gun violence in Pennsylvania.” 

The order implements two new offices in the executive branch: the Division of Violence Prevention within the Department of Health and the Office of Gun Violence Prevention within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD). 

The newly formed Special Council on Gun Violence will be led by PCCD chair Charles Ramsey. The council will meet in 60 days to begin developing a new public health and community engagement strategy, review current background check processes and align resources across the commonwealth to reduce incidents of gun violence. 

The executive order implements some other measures as well, such as a Violence Data Dashboard to “provide a better understanding of the scope, frequency, geography and populations affected by violence.” 

At the law enforcement level, Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) will now be expanding their monitoring of hate groups, white nationalists and other fringe organizations. PA residents will soon be able to contact police through text with suspicions of a mass shootings. 

Wolf also called for greater communication among jurisdictions and branches of government: partnering with PA courts to utilize juvenile justice programs, directing the Office of Homeland Security to raise awareness on safety planning and preparedness, coordinating PSP and Capitol State Police to offer wider training programs and enrolling PA in the “States for Gun Safety” coalition which shares information and has established the Gun Violence Research Consortium.

PA legislators will not consider any gun control legislation until it reconvenes in September. Despite urging from some Democrat lawmakers, Wolf has not reconvened the legislature for a special session on gun violence. 

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