Yesterday, CeaseFirePA rallied in United Christian Church in Bucks County as part of PA United for Background Checks to call for universal background checks throughout Pennsylvania. Upwards of 80 people from Bucks, Montgomery, and Delaware Counties as well as Philadelphia and beyond braved the weather and joined together for the event that was standing room only. Specifically, we gathered together to work towards the passage of Pennsylvania House Bill 1400 and Senate Bill 209, which would close loopholes that allow for private long gun sales, thus creating universal background checks in Pennsylvania.

Rep. John Galloway, (D, Bucks) Rep. Madeleine Dean, (D, Montco) Rep. Jamie Santora, (R, Delco) Sen. Tom McGarrigle, (R,. Delco) former Rep. Steve Santarsiero (D, Bucks) spoke Sunday in support of the two bills, making the argument that background checks save lives, and that’s the kind of legislation this state needs. Additionally, CeaseFirePA Executive Director Shira Goodman, Survivor Ruth Donnelly, (Mothers in Charge) Bensalem Director of Public Safety Fred Harran, Marie Rosenberg, (Bucks Safe) and Gitana Wasserman, (Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America) delivered remarks in support of the Background Checks Bills and to encourage Pennsylvanians to and educate them about contacting their legislators to voice their support for the legislation.

Singer Lynda Mintz sang a piece entitled “Thoughts and Prayers” that calls out lawmakers for offering only thoughts and prayers instead of legislation to save lives. To finish out the afternoon, Movita Johnson-Harrell of the Charles Foundation told the compelling story of her son’s shooting and death due to mistaken identity. There were few dry eyes in the audience. Stories like Movita’s are those we work to avoid and we will continue to work for action to prevent these tragedies.