GOP lawmakers introduce mandatory minimum for illegal firearms | Five for the Weekend

For a first offense, the bill proposes a sentence be a minimum of 11 months but under two years

By: - September 17, 2022 7:03 am

Happy weekend, all. 

Two Bucks County lawmakers say they plan to introduce legislation that would establish a mandatory minimum sentence for the illegal possession of firearms.

Republican state Reps. Frank Farry and Kathleen “K.C.” Tomlinson joined law enforcement officials in Bensalem Township on Friday to announce the new legislation.

 “This legislation will send a message across the Commonwealth that felons who possess firearms will not walk away unpunished,” Farry said. “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.”

The legislation would establish a new mandatory minimum sentence for previously convicted offenders. For a first offense, the bill proposes a sentence be a minimum of 11 months but under two years.

According to lawmakers, the bill would then increase the mandatory minimum sentence for each subsequent offense.

“Our legislation creates serious punishment to hold these criminals accountable and hopefully send the message that these kind[s] of violent acts will not be tolerated,” Tomlinson said.

CeaseFire PA Executive Director Adam Garber expressed concern the bill wouldn’t target the source of illegal firearms – traffickers and some gun stores.

“For years, we have tried to only arrest our way out of a gun violence problem that has spiraled out of control,” Garber said. “The evidence makes it clear it hasn’t worked. While we must hold violent offenders accountable, until Rep. Tomlinson and Rep. Farry get serious about going after the source of illegal guns, we will continue to lose lives.”

As always, the top five stories from this week are below. 

Democratic U.S. Senate nominee John Fetterman (L) and Republican U.S. Senate nominee Mehmet Oz (R) Campaign file photos
Democratic U.S. Senate nominee John Fetterman (L) and Republican U.S. Senate nominee Mehmet Oz (R)
Campaign file photos

1. New Pa. poll points to trouble for Republicans on abortion | Mark O’Keefe

There are surprises in just about every political poll, but some numbers from the recent Franklin and Marshall College poll showed particularly astounding results.

In the poll conducted by Franklin & Marshall College’s Center for Opinion Research, John Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, leads GOP candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz 43 percent to 30 percent in the Senate race with 20 percent undecided, while Josh Shapiro leads GOP state Sen. Doug Mastriano 44 percent to 33 percent in the race for governor with 19 percent undecided.

Nothing was surprising in those numbers. Both Fetterman and Shapiro jumped out to early leads and have continued to enjoy comfortable leads in both races.

Lt; Gov. John Fetterman in his Capitol office (Capital-Star photo by John L. Micek)

2. No, John Fetterman isn’t wearing a tie. And you need to stop talking about that | John L. Micek

So, this isn’t a “John Fetterman” column. And you know what we’re talking about here.

After more than two years on the statewide political stage, there’s already a well-established journalistic shorthand for Pennsylvania’s new lieutenant governor.

It’s the lather, rinse, repeat formula of “black clothes, bald head, tattoos, gosh he’s tall but skinnier, cheerleader for the struggling steel town of Braddock, Pa.” that’s launched a thousand profiles — including a recent one by

And while all that’s true about Fetterman, it often feels like the media branding of Gov. Tom Wolf’s second-in-command overshadows the actual human behind it.

Supporters of former President Donald Trump have threatened violence against the FBI after the law enforcement agency executed a search warrant at the former president’s residence in Florida (Getty Images).

3. Trump isn’t going to jail. And that’s good news for Democrats | Bruce Ledewitz

Democrats are aware that the search of former President Donald Trump’s home by the FBI hurt the Party politically. This Aug. 17 headline from The New York Times, referencing the Inflation Reduction Act, says it all: President Takes a Bow, but Spotlight Stays on His Predecessor.

Yet, even with this knowledge, 88 percent of Democrats want Trump charged for fomenting the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Slightly over half of Democrats think he will be.

Undoubtedly, Democrats are also hoping that state criminal investigations into financial improprieties and election interference will lead to prosecutions.

And now there is concrete evidence from the search of his home that Trump broke the law by possessing “top secret” documents. Since no one is above the law, surely now there must be a criminal case.

Democratic U.S. Senate nominee John Fetterman (L) and Republican U.S. Senate nominee Mehmet Oz (R) Campaign file photos
Democratic U.S. Senate nominee John Fetterman (L) and Republican U.S. Senate nominee Mehmet Oz (R)
Campaign file photos

4. Oz clarifies abortion views, Fetterman capitalizes on conflicting views in Senate race

Pennsylvania’s position as an abortion battleground state is taking shape in the U.S. Senate race, with John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee, capitalizing on conflicting statements from Mehmet Oz, his Republican opponent, in the high-profile contest.

Fetterman, who said he would support codifying Roe v. Wade if elected, has recently focused on Oz, who clarified his stance on abortion this month, and his views on reproductive health.

Oz told reporters at a press conference in Philadelphia this month that he would not support criminal penalties for people who sought or doctors who performed abortions. Describing himself as “strongly pro-life,” he added that he supports exceptions for rape, incest, or if the mother’s life is at risk.

Tori Tambellini, former Starbucks employee and current organizer with Workers United (Pittsburgh City Paper photo).

5. From steelworkers to baristas: the new face of Pittsburgh’s evolving labor movement

Six months ago, Tori Tambellini barely knew what a union was; now, the recent college graduate wants to devote her career to the labor movement.

Having worked as a barista throughout the coronavirus pandemic years, Tambellini helped found the union for Starbucks’ Market Square location this spring, after organizers from other shops convinced her it could give staff a voice in workplace issues they’d long felt excluded from.

She was fired six weeks later in a move she sees as thinly disguised retribution from her employer. Instead of feeling cowed, though, Tambellini said she feels confident and energized.

And that’s the week. We’ll see you back here next week.

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.