2016 PA Elections

CeaseFire Pennsylvania, the advocacy arm of CeaseFirePA, aims to inform Pennsylvanians about the people who want to represent them as elected policy makers.  To that end, we survey candidates in statewide races, and in all the state legislative races.  Where possible, we publish reports based on the candidates’ surveys and lists of endorsed or recommended candidates.

In advance of the April primary elections, CeaseFire Pennsylvania released separate reports about the positions on gun violence prevention of the candidates running for U.S. Senate and PA Attorney General.  “People want to know where these candidates stand on gun violence prevention,” said CeaseFire Pennsylvania Executive Director Shira Goodman. “We hope these reports will provide the voters the information they need to make crucial decisions. Candidates need to know that the gun lobby isn’t the only organization paying attention and that PA voters care deeply about how these candidates propose to fight gun violence and make Pennsylvania safer.”

 United States Senate

CeaseFire Pennsylvania believes that Pennsylvania can and should lead the way as our nation works to reduce gun violence and gun tragedies.  Accordingly, we aim to support candidates who will be leaders on the issue of gun violence prevention.  This year’s United States Senate contest presents an important choice between candidates who both seek to be seen as leaders on the path to commonsense gun laws.  As the voters choose between incumbent Senator Pat Toomey and challenger Katie McGinty, CeaseFire Pennsylvania is proud to endorse Katie McGinty, the candidate we believe will make gun violence prevention a cornerstone of her work in Washington.

Pennsylvanians across the Commonwealth have made clear that they want elected officials who will be committed leaders in the fight for stronger gun laws. We believe that Katie McGinty holds the most promise to be a steadfast and dedicated advocate in the fight to reduce gun violence.

(Read our full statement here.)

CeaseFire Pennsylvania released an April report on the candidates running for U.S. Senate.  Democrat Katie McGinty scored 100%, and Republican Pat Toomey failed to respond.  In June, following the tragic massacre at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando, CeaseFire Pennsylvania called on McGinty and Toomey to pledge to support five specific gun violence prevention measures:

1. Universal background checks for firearms sales

2. A renewal and strengthening of the Assault Weapons Ban

3. A ban on high capacity magazines

4. Banning firearms sales to individuals on the federal Terror Watch Lists

5. Prohibiting those convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from purchasing firearms

CeaseFire Pennsylvania urged the candidates: “You are seeking a leadership position where you can have a unique influence on federal gun policy.  We know from experience that sensible measures can dramatically reduce gun violence.  While any one measure will not prevent all harm, a combination of reasonable measures would save many lives.” The candidates’ responses to CeaseFire Pennsylvania highlighted important differences in their policy positions.

Secretary McGinty pledged to support all five of the enumerated policies, explaining “The tragedy in Orlando. . . is further evidence that the United States is long overdue to pass legislation to keep guns – particularly military-style weapons and magazines – out of the hands of those who would use them to do harm.”  Regarding expanding background checks and closing the terror gap, she noted: “It makes no sense that we turn a blind eye to some gun sales but not others, and that we allow those who present enough risk to be barred from a commercial flight to buy weapons.”

Senator Toomey reiterated his support for the Manchin-Toomey background check legislation as well as for both his own and Senator Collins’ proposals to close the terror gap.  Senator Toomey rejected “outright bans on entire classes of commonly owned firearms,” noting that “They do not target criminals and terrorists. Rather they sweep in millions of law-abiding Americans and prevent them from exercising their constitutional rights.” Senator Toomey did not specifically address the issues of banning high capacity magazines or making hate crime misdemeanants prohibited purchasers.

Pennsylvania Attorney General

In the race for Attorney General, Democrat Josh Shapiro scored 100% on our survey. Republican John Rafferty did not respond.  The report we released in April may be found here.

CeaseFire Pennsylvania is proud to announce its endorsement of Josh Shapiro to be the Commonwealth’s next Attorney General.  “Josh Shapiro has been a leader in the fight against gun violence and for stronger gun laws and has made this fight a cornerstone of his campaign,” said Shira Goodman, Executive Director of CeaseFire Pennsylvania. “We believe that as Attorney General, he will find creative solutions to reduce gun violence and gun tragedies and make Pennsylvania a safer place to live, work, learn, play and pray.”

“I’m proud that CeaseFire Pennsylvania and the thousands of citizens it represents—Republicans, Democrats and Independents from every corner of our Commonwealth—are standing with me in this campaign,” said Shapiro. “There’s something wrong with government when law enforcement and over 90 percent of gun owners want universal background checks but politicians refuse to act on basic, commonsense safety measures – I’ll work with CeaseFire Pennsylvania and leaders from both parties to build consensus to protect Pennsylvanians’ rights and the safety of our children and families.”

Find out more about Mr. Shapiro and his plans to address gun violence here.

State Legislative Races

In advance of the primaries, we surveyed the candidates for the State House and State Senate.  The results of surveys received to date may be found here.  We have offered the candidates another chance to respond to our survey, and we are currently compiling those results.  We will update this site with those results, and, ultimately, with a list of recommended candidates. Click here for our list of recommendations.

About CeaseFire Pennsylvania

CeaseFire Pennsylvania is the advocacy arm of CeaseFirePA, a statewide organization working with mayors, law enforcement, faith leaders, community organizations and Pennsylvanians taking a stand against gun violence. We work to reduce gun violence and gun tragedies, stop the flow of illegal guns onto our streets, and keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have them.