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PA's Governor Pushes GOP Lawmakers To Extend Gun Sale Background Checks

Wolf speaks at a press conference, alongside state police officials. (Photo by Katie Meyer/WITF)
Wolf speaks at a press conference, alongside state police officials. (Photo by Katie Meyer/WITF)

HARRISBURG, PA (WSKG) -- Governor Tom Wolf is pushing the legislature to broaden firearm background checks--in particular, to close an exception for certain rifles, shotguns, and handguns sold at gun shows.

But the administration has acknowledged, it'll be difficult getting the measure through the GOP-controlled legislature.

Various forms of the so-called gun show loophole are relatively common across the country.

Wolf said performing background checks on long guns won't change gun sales much

"Common sense gun reform which does not pose an unnecessary delay or obstacle to those who purchase firearms," he said at a Capitol press conference. "This is going to make our society safer."

However, the bill hasn't moved from the House or Senate's GOP-controlled committees in months.

Neither have measures banning bump stocks and fully outlawing semi-automatic weapons.

At Wolf's conference, Acting State Police Commissioner Lieutenant Colonel Robert Evanchick attempted to appeal to Republicans, saying expanded background checks would make his force more effective.

"The Pennsylvania State Police encourage closing this void in the current law to require that all firearm purchases and/or transfers of ownership require a universal background check," he said.

Wolf's latest effort comes after a string of House hearings on gun violence, and the Senate passing a bill strengthening anti-gun provisions in Protection from Abuse orders.

Under current law, people under PFAs can relinquish weapons into the custody of friends or family members. The update would only allow them to be held by law enforcement or other designated officials.

Wolf is urging the House to pass that bill to his desk for a signature as soon as possible.