(PAOLI, PA) – Rep. Warren Kampf today announced that he will be introducing a comprehensive package of legislation to help prevent tragic mass shootings.
“I am the father of two young children in our public schools. I could not imagine the anguish if anything happened to them, or anyone’s children, and while some will refuse to act, I will not,” Kampf said. “The issue of public safety isn’t Republican or Democrat; it is the job of every elected leader regardless of party. This is a complex problem and as much as both sides like to formulate simple one-sided narratives, the fact is fixing it will require everyone to re-examine their beliefs and act now.”
Kampf’s proposals will focus on identification of potentially troubled young individuals, support for increased mental health and mental rehabilitation services, and commonsense actions to address firearm issues. He said his proposals are based on concrete issues that have arisen in the past.
Kampf, who has been a longtime sponsor of legislation to require background checks on all firearms sales, is putting forth the following proposals:
• Funding for mental health and mental rehabilitation services with monies focused on treatment, especially for troubled young people, as well as tuition tax credits for clinicians who enter the mental health field and stay for five years.
Kampf will engage with leading providers of inpatient psychiatric services throughout Pennsylvania to perform a statewide needs assessment to determine how Pennsylvania can invest wisely in the treatment of younger individuals with serious mental illness. A needs assessment in 2014 addressed Mental Health Services and the Criminal Justice System, but did not focus on the young.
The National Council for Behavioral Health reports (1) that patients nationwide are having trouble getting psychiatric treatment in a timely fashion, and (2) there is a growing shortage of inpatient and outpatient programs. Kampf’s proposal would help address both of these issues.
• Requiring background checks on all gun sales – long arms and pistols, including private sales. Just as a person needs a background check to start a new job or regularly volunteer in schools, so should he or she have one when purchasing a firearm.
• Implementing “Red Flag” legislation that allows family members or law enforcement to ask the courts to temporarily remove firearms from a person who poses a danger to themselves or others—with appropriate due process.
• Providing immunity for teachers, medical professionals, and the general public for reporting potentially troubled individuals to law enforcement and/or mental health specialists.
Teachers or others who report what they believe to be potentially troubled individuals should not face any risk for doing in the public interest.
• Prohibiting bump stocks and high-capacity magazines.
Mass shootings all have in common the ability to fire a significant number of rounds in a short period of time, either due to enhanced magazine capacity or the use of accelerated trigger activators such as bump stocks. Kampf said common sense dictates the way to eliminate those factors is to eliminate the things that allow them to happen.
• Protecting victims of domestic violence by changing the state’s rules regarding protection From Abuse Orders by requiring the immediate relinquishing of firearms rather than the 60 days allowed under current law.
• Funding for school security, which is perhaps a federal, state, county and local cooperative effort. This would not be arming teachers and administrators, or a one-size-fits-all solution, but making resources available to improve what schools already do.
“Unlike many who are playing politics or simply appealing to the simplest of emotions, I am making concrete proposals that have a chance of becoming law and making a positive difference,” Kampf said. “I know that I will be attacked by people on both sides of these issues. Pennsylvania is a diverse state and there are members of both parties who feel as strongly about enacting no controls as there are others who simply want to ban all firearms. We can either watch that fight continue with nothing happening, or we can follow a path toward intellectually honest action, and toward results. That is what I am choosing to do.”
Kampf said that he spoke with local residents from across the 157th District while developing his proposals.
“I have spoken with Second Amendment advocates and people who despise all firearms. I have spoken with members of law enforcement and concerned moms. I believe that we can take actions like these that help protect the public while still preserving the Second Amendment rights of Americans,” Kampf, who is a former criminal prosecutor who served in both York County and Philadelphia, stated.
“There is something else we can and must do that cannot be achieved legislatively. We must, as people, work to make sure no one ever feels so alone that he or she turns to perpetrating one of these tragic events,” Kampf said. “I implore everyone that if you see someone suffering – especially a child – take a moment to reach out. We live in an age where the rush of life, the disconnection of people, and perhaps the remoteness of the web tear at the fabric that holds us together.
“My record as state representative has been one of shunning partisan politics and doing what I believe is right for the people I serve. I am proud that the people I represent cannot put me in any partisan box, and believe that this proposal continues that record of independence and common sense,” Kampf concluded.