Pa. auditor general issues recommendations to curb gun deaths

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- Pennsylvania's auditor general is issuing a set of recommendations he says would help combat gun deaths and violence without requiring any changes to existing law.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released a 20-page report on Tuesday that recommends expanded access to mental health services and a program to encourage more gun owners to store firearms and ammunition safely.

It says county sheriffs should be calling references on concealed carry permit applications before they issue the permits, and the state police should issue regular reports on guns traced from crimes.

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DePasquale, a Democrat, says there were 1,555 firearms deaths in Pennsylvania in 2016, and nearly two-thirds of them were suicides.

A spokesman for Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf says the administration supports the report's direction and will work to implement recommendations from it.