CeaseFirePA’s Leadership Institute made the news this past weekend after hosting one of its workshops in Springfield, PA. The Leadership Institute is a comprehensive training and education program designed to enhance the skills, knowledge and confidence of new and experienced gun violence prevention activists.
The most recent workshop took place in Bucks county and drew approximately 20 advocates. CeaseFirePA’s organizer, Fred Pinguel, educated attendees on the issues surrounding the new background check bill (H.B.1010) and how to enhance grassroots efforts. The text of the article can be found below. Also, if you’re interested in finding out more about the Leadership Institute feel free to contact us.
By Chris Ruvo, correspondent
Advocates of tighter gun control laws met Saturday in Langhorne for an education and strategy session that focused on steps they can take to be more influential activists in preventing gun violence in Pennsylvania.
At The Peace Center on Maple Avenue, the event drew about 20 people.
“Our goal is to bring more people together to create a stronger, more effective movement for gun control,” said Barbara Simmons, executive director of The Peace Center, which works for peace and social justice through programs aimed at reducing violence in schools, homes and communities.
For Saturday’s attendees, the issue of gun violence is something they’re passionately committed to stopping.
Referring to school shootings and inter-city violence, attendee Bob Anderson summed up the sentiments of others at the meeting when he said lasting changes must be made so that the killings will finally stop.
“Enough is the word for me,” said Anderson, who is in outreach ministry at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Yardley. “Enough is enough.”
Marguerite Chandler, who is from the Newtown area, expressed a similar view.
“I think this is an important issue societally and that’s why I’m here,” said Chandler.
For advocates like Simmons, tighter gun control laws represent a pivotal step toward reducing gun violence.
“The law should honor responsible gun owners, but place greater controls over the types of guns that can be purchased and who can purchase them,” she said.
The Pennsylvania Background Check Bill (House Bill 1010) is a piece of legislation Simmons and other gun control advocates feel strongly about.
If enacted, the bill would require all firearm sales, regardless of barrel length, to be conducted in front of a licensed importer, manufacturer, dealer or county sheriff. The legislation would require that background checks be conducted for each firearm purchase. This would close, advocates say, a loophole that allows prohibited firearms purchasers to avoid background checks when buying long guns — shotguns, rifles, military-style semi-automatic assault rifles — from private sellers.
At Saturday’s event, featured speaker Fred Pinguel, an organizer with CeaseFirePA, delivered insights and facilitated discussion on how gun control advocates can advance the mission of legislative change.
He said communicating with legislators through in-person meetings and handwritten notes are a few important tactics. Grassroots outreach to neighbors and other communities in the commonwealth is just as important, he said.
“It starts with influencing people to communicate with their legislators,” said Pinguel.
While the struggle for tighter gun control laws in Pennsylvania can sometimes leave advocates feeling cynical and weary, Simmons said it is important to push on.
“We have to remain passionate,” she said.
The Peace Center, Bux Mont Coalition for Peace Action, Bucks SAFE and Bucks Against Gun Violence sponsored Saturday’s event.