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What the Pennsylvania Senate and Gubernatorial Candidates Are Saying About Gun Control – NBC10 Philadelphia

A shooting in Uvalde, Texas, killed 19 children and two elementary school teachers. Closer to home, candidates for governor of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Senate will have a say in shaping local and national gun policy.

Currently, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s veto pen has blocked softer gun laws passed by the Republican-controlled legislature, but Wolf’s term will end this year. In the evenly divided U.S. Senate, an additional senator from Pennsylvania could swing gun policy in favor of either party.

After the Uvalde shooting, NBC10 reached out to the current candidates for both offices to ask about their gun policy plans. NBC10 asked if the candidates would support a gun ban, an assault rifle ban, universal background checks or legislation requiring a license to buy and carry guns.

Here’s how they responded:

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Democratic gubernatorial candidate:

“Throughout my career, I have worked with my law enforcement colleagues and with local communities across our Commonwealth to combat gun violence and keep Pennsylvanians safe, removing thousands of illegal weapons off our streets, shutting down arms trafficking rings and working to close the phantom gun loophole. [Note: “ghost guns” generally refer to homemade guns that are often sold in kits and have no serial number, making them difficult to trace].

“Right now every leader needs to say what they are for – and how they are going to make our schools safe. elevating access to telemental health; closing the ghost gun loophole; enacting universal background checks; and passing tougher red flag laws in Pennsylvania. [Note: “red flag laws” generally refer to legislation that allows law enforcement to remove guns from people who may pose an immediate threat to themselves or others].

“I refuse to accept a reality where our children have to fear for their lives every time they enter the classroom. Every Pennsylvanian deserves to feel safe at home, at school, and in their community — and I know we can achieve that while respecting the rights and traditions of Pennsylvanians. As Governor, I will work every day to protect our children and keep our communities safe from gun violence.

Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano, Republican gubernatorial candidate:

A representative for State Senator Doug Mastriano did not respond to questions from NBC10.

On his campaign website, Mastriano says he would make Pennsylvania a “constitutional transportation state” and a “Second Amendment sanctuary.”

As a state senator, Mastriano co-sponsored legislation that would criminalize state and local officials for cooperating with federal agencies in enforcing any new federal gun restrictions. Another bill he co-sponsored would make getting a gun license optional and allow people to carry loaded guns without a license; the bill contains exceptions for persons who are “prohibited from possessing firearms under any federal law or the laws of this Commonwealth.”

Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman, Democratic candidate for the US Senate:

Gisele and I are devastated for the victims of Robb Elementary, and for the parents and families who are suffering horribly. Enough is enough. It is high time for Congress to act. If I’m your next US senator, I’d support common-sense reform like universal background checks on all gun sales and a ban on military-grade assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Mehmet Oz, Republican candidate for the US Senate:

A representative for Senate candidate Mehmet Oz did not respond to questions from NBC10.

In response to Uvalde’s shooting, he tweeted, “I’m sickened by the horrific act of evil in Uvalde, Texas. It is an unimaginable pain that parents and the community face today. We must ensure that our children are protected from these senseless acts of violence and that they feel safe in our schools.

In a campaign video, Oz says people are “totally wrong” that he “won’t support guns.” He also calls himself “strong on the Second Amendment.” In the video, Oz fires a handgun and a shotgun. He also loads what appears to be an assault rifle.

In the past, however, he has called for certain gun restrictions.

Fact-checking website Politifact noted that Oz has co-authored several columns over the years in support of gun restrictions. In a 2014 column titled “Why gun violence is a public health issue”, they wrote that “until the government enacts gun safety measures – polls show that 79% of the population supports universal background checks on gun buyers – it is the responsibility of every doctor of their patients and your responsibility to yourself and your family to reduce gun violence.”

A 2019 column titled “Take a shot at a better world,” meanwhile argued that the country should reinstate the 1994 ban on assault rifles.

Politifact noted that Oz has since moved away from the columns. While his co-author, Dr. Michael Roizen, said he believed he wrote all of the columns that support gun control himself, Oz never voiced any objection to him about the columns.

Dave McCormick, Republican candidate for the US Senate:

Republican U.S. Senate campaign candidate Dave McCormick did not respond to questions from NBC10.

In response to Uvalde’s shooting, McCormick tweeted“Absolutely devastating and heartbreaking news in Texas. Our heartfelt prayers are with the children and families of this horrific tragedy.”

On his campaign website, McCormick calls himself a “strong supporter of our Second Amendment rights” and promises to “stand against the far left who want to take away our constitutional right to keep and bear arms.”

In a May 7 Tweeterhe attacked Oz saying his Republican opponent had called for gun restrictions “like a ban on assault weapons and red flag laws!”

In a campaign video, McCormick fires various long guns, including an assault rifle. The video calls McCormick “pro-gun and proud of it.”

For all the candidates, issues and important dates voters should know in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, go to NBC10 Decision 2022 page. You’ll find tools to help you navigate the midterm elections, including when to vote and who will be on your ballots in the November primaries and general elections.