Contact Information 
District Office
282 West King St., 1st Floor
Abbottstown, PA 17301
(717) 259-7805
Toll-Free: 1-877-480-9525
Hours: M-F 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Satellite Offices
South Middleton Township Building
520 Park Drive
Boiling Springs, PA 17007
Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Phone: (717) 612-0807 

North Newton Township Building
528 Oakville Road
Shippensburg, PA 17257
By appointment only
Phone: (717) 612-0807
Toll free: 1-877-480-9525

Capitol Office
427 Irvis Office Building
PO Box 202193
Harrisburg PA 17120-2193
Phone (717) 783-8875
Fax (717) 787-7588
Is Gun Control the Answer?
The recent rash of mass shootings has unfortunately been accompanied by an unprecedented assault on our constitutional safeguards by the liberal left. The Pennsylvania Constitution says it even better than our Second Amendment to the United States Constitution – “The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.” I also find it interesting that nearly 97 percent of mass shootings occur in gun free zones, according to the Crime Prevention Research Center.

I am not in the camp with those who believe the answer lies in taking away guns. In my opinion, the responsibility lies with the individual, who in the end will still look to commit a violent act using some other form of weapon if he or she feels motivated enough to do so. I feel society must do a better job from the mental health side of the equation if are going to make any headway in curbing gun violence.

Here are a few points I need to make in support of the precept in our Constitution:

For starters, there is no clear-cut definition of the term “assault weapons.” The acronym AR stands for automatic rifle, and ARs seem to be what have some people worked up into a lather. Citizens have always had the ability to own whatever firearm was currently available. Our Continental Army used what they kept at home, and the same was true during the War of 1812. In the 1959 Johnny Horton song “The Battle of New Orleans,” the term “squirrel guns” was used, referring to what many men simply pulled from the shelf as they left for war. During the Civil War, many members of the Confederate Army used their personal firearms. The repeating rifle, first used in the Civil War, later became the firearm of choice for our western settlers. So, for most of our history, citizens had the same firearms as the military.

Second, there has not been a reliable study using scientific methodology to corroborate an increase in homicide rates with increases in gun ownership. Among violent felons, 70 percent had a prior arrest record and 57 percent had at least one prior arrest for a felony. Sixty-seven percent of murderers and 73 percent of those convicted of robbery or assault had an arrest record. A majority (56 percent) of violent felons had a prior conviction record, 38 percent had a prior felony conviction and 15 percent had a previous conviction for a violent felony.

Multiple studies have shown firearms possession among law-abiding citizens deter crime. According to the National Institute of Justice, more than half of felony prisoners who were interviewed in 10 states said they would not attack a potential victim if they knew he or she was armed. An even great number stated they would avoid an attempted burglary of an occupied home because of the fear of being shot.

We often see the stricter gun laws of our international neighbors showcased as examples we should follow. Canada’s incidence of mass shooting pales in comparison to those in the United States. Anyone wishing to purchase a gun in Canada must take the Canadian Firearms Safety Course AND then apply for a Possession and Acquisition License (PAL), during which time their criminal and mental health histories are screened.

But many of the guns used in American mass shootings can be legally purchased in Canada. The PAL is often compared to a tax return, in that it can be falsified. The National Post, a conservative Canadian English-language newspaper, examined some of our country’s most well-known mass shootings in February and the chance of them happening in Canada. Only one of them was deemed extremely unlikely to happen.

Finally, many people use accidental shootings as the basis for a stricter ban on firearms. Relatively speaking, accidental shootings are small and are decreasing each year, especially here in Pennsylvania. You have a better chance of contracting whopping cough than you do of being the victim of an accidental shooting.

Unfortunately, there will always be a criminal element – moral evil, if you will – in this world. Striking these terrible incidents completely from our records will be difficult to achieve; however, we can do more. When it comes to prevention, taking a more serious look at or country’s mental health is the place on which I feel we must more seriously focus.

Questions or comments about this or any state government should be directed to my district office at (717) 259-7805 or 1-877 480-9525.

Representative Will Tallman
193rd District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Scott Little
717.260.6137 /

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