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Majority of Pennsylvania Voters Support Stronger Gun Laws, Per New Giffords Poll

Giffords released the polling at its forum on gun safety featuring all three Democratic candidates for the US Senate in Pennsylvania

Washington, DC —Yesterday, Giffords hosted a Senate forum dedicated to addressing gun violence in Pennsylvania. The event, which took place in Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center, gave candidates a meaningful opportunity to directly engage voters and present their plans to address the state’s gun violence epidemic.

Giffords Executive Director Peter Ambler: 

“With these candidates stepping up to prioritize gun safety in their campaigns and this poll showing voters will be prioritizing gun safety on their ballots, it’s clear that preventing gun violence will be a defining issue of Pennsylvania’s senate race. Shootings are up, and voters are demanding answers. The question is, will Republican candidates respond to the voters, or to the money and extremism of the gun lobby?”

At the forum, Giffords released new polling conducted in conjunction with Public Policy Polling of likely general election voters in Pennsylvania. Our polling found that more than half of Pensylvanians think we need stronger gun laws, with 83% supporting background checks on all gun sales. 66% of Pennsylvania voters said that doing more to prevent gun violence was either “the most important issue” or “a very important issue.” While fewer than half of Pennsylvanians know background checks that are not required on all gun sales, 64% said they are more likely to vote for the candidate who supports background checks. Full polling results available here.

Candidates who spoke at the forum included Lt. Governor John Fetterman, US Rep. Conor Lamb, and State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta. Honorary co-chairs in attendance included former Governor Ed Rendell, US Rep. Dwight Evans, and US Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon. US Reps. Madeleine Dean and Chrissy Houlahan appeared virtually. The forum was moderated by former Congresswoman and Giffords Senior Advisor Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords also delivered remarks. 

Key quotes from candidates at last night’s forum include:

  • Representative Conor Lamb: “We’ve passed universal background checks in the House. We can’t get a vote on it in the United States Senate. That’s one of the reasons why we have to take back this seat here in Pennsylvania.” 
  • State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta: “When I go home tonight, I might have another shooting on my block. I’ve had so many people in my community who’ve been murdered…I think it hits a little differently. We’re not at a loss for ideas. What we lack is the political math.”
  • Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman: “Hearing gunshots at night or knowing somebody who was killed, [gun violence] is ever-present. That will never be far from my thoughts and certainly never far from my top legislative priority.”

The forum was an important discussion on rising rates of gun violence across PA—an issue that is certain to shape one of the most-watched elections of the upcoming midterms. In 2020, a heartbreaking 1,752 Pennsylvanians lost their lives to gun violence. Gun violence is spiking across the country, too—45,222 Americans were shot and killed nationwide. This loss of life is preventable. However, no meaningful action has been taken to address this national crisis—and Pennsylvania’s streets, schools, homes, and places of worship continue to be vulnerable to horrific acts of gun violence as our opponents stall progress at the state and federal levels.