Reps. Frank Farry and K.C. Tomlinson recently joined local law enforcement officials to unveil legislation that would impose a new mandatory minimum sentence for previously convicted offenders found to be illegally in possession of a firearm.
Joining Farry and Tomlinson at the news conference at the Bensalem Township municipal building were Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub, Bensalem Mayor Joseph DiGirolamo, the police department’s director of public safety Bill McVey and numerous Bucks County law enforcement leaders.
“As violence and crime continues to surge in Philadelphia, dangerous criminals are often crossing into our communities and illegally possessing firearms without regard for punishment. Quite often, we hear the comment that the criminal should have never been out on the street, but what we don’t often hear is they should have never had a firearm,” said Farry. “Our legislation would enact a mandatory minimum jail sentence for those that continue to defy the law and illegally possess a firearm.”
“We are in a very unique position here in Bensalem,” said Tomlinson. “We border Philadelphia and are centrally located around all the major cities of the Northeast United States. We also have multiple major access points, including the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I-95, Route 1 and Route 13, that filter all types of criminals into our county. Stronger sentencing will better protect our families and businesses.”
House Bill 2819 would impose a new mandatory minimum sentence for those previously convicted of a felony and found illegally in possession of a firearm. A first-time offender would receive a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 11 months. The mandatory minimum jail sentence would increase significantly with each offense thereafter.
“This legislation will send a message across the commonwealth that felons who possess firearms will not walk away unpunished,” said Farry. “And we don’t just need to take that firearm out of the felon’s hands. We need to take the felon off the street.”
“Our legislation creates serious punishment to hold these criminals accountable and hopefully send the message that these kinds of violent acts will not be tolerated,” said Tomlinson.