Rep. Steve Santarsiero (D., Bucks) unveiled legislation today that would expand background checks in Pennsylvania to include sales of long guns through private sales.
Santarsiero, who announced HB 1010 in a press conference held at the same time a bipartisan background check deal was reached in the U.S. Senate, said it is time to close Pennsylvania's loophole that allows people to buy long guns - including assault weapons - from unlicensed dealers without a background check.
Under federal law any licensed gun dealer must perform a background check for any type of firearms purchase. The Pennsylvania law goes further requiring anyone selling handguns perform background checks, but it exempts long gun sales.
David Scholnick, Pennsylvania coordinator for Mayors Against Illegal Guns said this exemption has allowed a proliferation of unregulated sales of long guns, especially on the Internet.
Santarsiero's bill would continue the exemption for gun sales between family members..
Citing poll numbers of higher than 90 percent, Santarsiero said it was "time to act."
Santarsiero was joined by Attorney General Kathleen Kane who said the state should end exemptions for long guns, saying "they all kill."
He said he recognized that the bill faces a tough fight in the GOP-led state House, but said if California, Maryland and New York can impose stricter gun laws, so too can Pennsylvania.