Shapiro hopes to rein in gun violence during time as Pennsylvania governor
HARRISBURG - The weekend before Josh Shapiro's inauguration as Pennsylvania governor, he called out the "absolutely unacceptable" level of gun violence plaguing the Keystone State but offered scant details on his plans to curtail the bloodshed.
"People have a right to be safe in their communities – feel safe," Shapiro told reporters Sunday. "If we want to have good, positive outcomes in our communities it starts with making them safe."
Gun reform activists hope Shapiro - the former state Attorney General with credibility as a prosecutor and in law enforcement - will make control the flow of illegal firearms often responsible for gun deaths across the state. They say a Pennsylvanian is shot every two hours, while another grim homicide total in Philadelphia top 500 last year.
"The level of violence is absolutely unacceptable, period," Shapiro said.
The Montgomery County native didn't reveal his plan as governor to tackle gun violence, but in the past he set his sights on closing loopholes instead of limiting gun purchasing rules. In Pennsylvania, legal gun owners have the ability to purchase as many guns as they want in a single transaction, which some believe easily leads to so-called straw purchases.
In a previous interview with FOX 29's Jeff Cole, Shapiro, then the Attorney General, said he wouldn't focus on limiting gun transactions to one a month. Instead, Shaprio said he would be "focused on closing the loopholes that allow criminals to get their hands on guns."
In his previous role, Shapiro prosecuted straw purchases and brought attention to restricting ghost guns, which are often made from kits at home and without serial numbers for tracing. Ghost guns have repeatedly showed up at crime scenes, becoming a focal point for gun reform activists.
So too have lost or stolen firearms, leading Shapiro and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney to urge those who own the guns to report them stolen. Shapiro called it a "reasonable approach" in a previous interview with FOX 29.
The pressure from gun control activists isn't only on Shapiro to make changes to the state laws, but also on newly appointed Pennsylvania House Speaker Mark Rossi.