Jay Costa - Candidate for PA SD-43
1. Do you support universal background checks, specifically SB88/HB673? Why or why not? *
Yes I support universal background checks. In fact, I am a cosponsor of SB 88. Universal background checks help to eliminate blackmarket gun sales. Without background checks guns are bought and sold with little regulation. Pennsylvania has not been immune to the tragedy of gun violence. I’m horrified by the damage it does to our communities. We must stand up to companies that put weapons of war onto the streets of our communities and to those who operate through loopholes in our law while hiding behind the banner of our second amendment.
2. Do you support extreme risk protection orders (red flag laws), specifically SB90/HB1075? Why or why not? *
I absolutely support extreme risk protection orders, it’s why I co-sponsored SB90. If someone suffers from depression or other mental health issues, having easy access to a firearm increases the risk they might harm themselves or others. SB 90 gives local courts the ability to temporarily remove guns from people who’ve demonstrated those risks. This bill will help save lives and prevent future tragedies. Additionally, individuals credibly-accused of domestic abuse should not be allowed access to weapons - we need to do all we can to protect victims from further violence. SB 90 allows local courts to temporarily ban individuals accused of domestic abuse from owning guns. Additionally, It makes no sense to allow someone who poses an immediate threat to themselves or others to have a gun. That is why I support Senate Bill 293 which, in extreme situations, would allow our courts to temporarily remove an individual’s access to firearms.
3.B. Do you support a requirement for a certificate of possession as described in SB292 (if you are a candidate for State Senate) for the possession, manufacture or use of an assault weapon or high capacity magazine? Why or why not? *
While I am also a co-sponsor of SB272, I assume that you mean SB 292 here which bans possessing, manufacturing, importing, or selling assault weapons or high capacity magazines. I am a sponsor of this bill as well. Assault weapons are the tools of war and belong only on the battlefield and I’ve worked hard to ban these weapons from our streets. Gun violence shouldn’t be a partisan issue in Pennsylvania. We need to look past the politics of gun violence and focus the conversation on what we can do practically to reduce gun violence in our communities. We need to come together and make progress before we lose one more life.
4. Do you support the expansion of firearms preemption, specifically SB531/HB1066? Why or why not? *
No, I do not support the expansion of firearm preemption. We must finally take sensible action to address gun violence and keep our communities safe. And yes, we can do this while respecting the rights of responsible gun owners. In the State Senate, I’ve pushed for more funding to invest in our communities to prevent violence, and to support local communities that stand up to violence. Preemption laws are obstacles in the path to sensible regulations that keep our communities safe.
5. What else would you like to let voters know about your stance on firearms legislation? *
In today’s tragic era of mass casualty shootings in schools, community centers, and houses of worship, we need to recognize that one’s safety in public can no longer be taken for granted. That’s why I’ve supported Act 44, the Pennsylvania School Safety and Security Fund, to provide money to better protect our schools, childcare facilities, and other public spaces. Additionally, along with my Democratic colleagues in Harrisburg, recently I fought for $5 million in grant funding for religious spaces to improve their security. I announced this past week nearly $900k coming back in the form of Safety and Security Grants for Pittsburgh Public Schools, more than $700,000 to schools in Penn Hills and Wilkinsburg, and additional funds for Steel Valley and West Mifflin. And that's in addition to the nearly $400,000 we brought back to Woodland Hills just a few short months ago.