PA Auditor General releases Firearm Safety Special Report, calling to strengthen current laws

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Making Pennsylvania safer without changing existing gun safety laws is the goal of the Firearm Safety Special Report released Tuesday by the Pennsylvania Auditor General.

"You are either going to be part of the solution or you are part of the problem," said Pennsylvania's Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.

The report lists 12 ways to help achieve a safer Pennsylvania when it comes to gun safety. With 63 percent of gun deaths in the state being suicide, first on the list is expanding mental health care, along with destigmatization. The report then looks to strengthen existing Pennsylvania laws.

"The amount we can do in existing Pennsylvania law to improve upon what we are not doing currently would make Pennsylvania safer," said DePasquale.

The report found only one sheriff's department in the state was doing reference checks on concealed carry permit requests, and found many people were receiving permits in less than half an hour.

"The sheriff's are not, I repeat not doing the reference checks," said DePasquale. "Why have a system if it's not going to be followed?"

The report also urging Governor Tom Wolf to sign an executive order within current law requiring State Police to issue monthly reports on firearms traced from crimes to help track lost and stolen guns.

"I don't want to predict what information will show but there are possibilities certain trends could develop," said DePasquale. "Like guns coming from specific areas or maybe even specific dealers. That may help law enforcement further crack down on illegal dealers."

DePasquale says the only group to not take part in the report, despite being asked was the National Riffle Association.

The full Firearm Safety Special Report can be found here.

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