Tim Murphy fallout

Where Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation stands on gun control

Pa. Sen. Pat Toomey has accepted tens of thousands of dollars from pro-gun groups. He’s not alone.

Pa. Sen. Pat Toomey with Pa. reps who have accepted donations from pro-gun groups.

Pa. Sen. Pat Toomey with Pa. reps who have accepted donations from pro-gun groups.

SHIRLEY LI/MEDILL VIA FLICKR ; OFFICIAL portraits
Sarah Anne Hughes

Updated, 5:50 p.m.

Thirteen members of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation have accepted money from pro-gun individuals and groups including the National Rifle Association since they took office.

Those donations total more than $481,000, according to information published by the Center for Responsive Politics. A big chunk of that money was donated to Sen. Pat Toomey’s campaign or leadership political action committee from gun rights PACs as well as individuals who also donated to groups including the NRA and Safari Club since he took office, per the CRP. (Read more about the methodology here.)

Whether a representative or senator has accepted donations from pro-gun groups falls on party lines, but not every Republican from Pennsylvania opposes gun control measures.

Here’s where Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation stands on gun control. Like PoliticoBilly Penn and The Incline consulted CRP’s analysis of donations from pro-gun groups and individuals while compiling this rundown.

Senate

Bob Casey (Democrat)

Donations from CRP-designated pro-gun groups and individuals during career: None.

On gun control: Casey has done a notable about-face on guns. After the Sandy Hook massacre, he told reporters, “I don’t think new gun laws are going to change us.”

But since then, as the Washington Post detailed, Casey has “embraced every major proposal to counter gun violence, including a renewed ban on assault weapons and enhanced background checks before gun purchases.”

After the Las Vegas massacre, Casey renewed his call for universal background checks and restrictions on the “size and capacity of magazines.”

Pat Toomey (Republican)

Donations from CRP-designated pro-gun groups and individuals during career: $168,260 including $27,250 in direct support from the NRA

On gun control: Despite the high level of financial support Toomey has received from pro-gun groups, he was an introducer of a bipartisan bill to expand background checks that President Obama praised.

The Toomey-Manchin measure failed in 2013, but Toomey still supports the policy and “is looking for ways to advance it,” his spokesperson told Lehigh Valley Live.

“In the coming days, additional information regarding this heinous attack and the conditions of those who were wounded will be shared by law enforcement and medical professionals,” Toomey said in a statement about the mass shooting in Las Vegas. “This information is critical in determining the next steps needed to try and prevent future tragedies. My staff and I will continue to monitor all of these developments.”

Philadelphia representatives

Brendan Boyle (Democrat-Philadelphia)

Donations from CRP-designated pro-gun groups and individuals during career: None.

On gun control: Boyle has spoken publicly about the need for “real gun safety laws” and participated in the House’s gun violence sit-in after the Pulse nightclub massacre.

He is also a member of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.

Bob Brady (Democrat-Philadelphia)

Donations from CRP-designated pro-gun groups and individuals during career: None.

On gun control: After President Obama proposed new gun control measures after the Sandy Hook murders in 2013, Brady released a statement in support: “How much more bloodshed are we willing to tolerate? There is no need for assault weapons and high capacity ammunition clips to be a part of the American civilian stockpile. I wholeheartedly support a ban on assault weapons and high capacity ammunition clips and I also support universal background checks for all those lining up to buy weapons of what should be termed weapons of mass destruction.”

In 2016, Brady introduced a bill “that would prevent a state legislature from overturning/superseding ‎a local government’s gun control legislation.”

In a statement provided by his spokeswoman on the Las Vegas massacre, Brady asked, “How long are we going to say, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed in yet another mass shooting? As a nation, as elected officials and as individuals we are obligated to break the log jam against gun reform. How long are we going to let the NRA dictate policy?”

Dwight Evans (Democrat-Philadelphia)

Donations from CRP-designated pro-gun groups and individuals during career: None.

On gun control: Evans participated in a rally on the Capitol steps for “common sense gun reform” and released a statement after the Las Vegas shooting calling on the nation “to come together as a nation to fully heal and grasp what has happened and why this has happened.”

Brian Fitzpatrick (Republican-Levittown)

Donations from CRP-designated pro-gun groups and individuals during career: None.

On gun control: During the race for his seat, Fitzpatrick expressed support for Pat Toomey’s bipartisan legislation to expand background checks, according to the Morning Call:

Brian Fitzpatrick said he’d vote for the Toomey-Manchin gun bill with unspecified “legislative fixes,” and supports giving law enforcement agencies the “tools they need to crack down on illegal straw purchases,” episodes where someone buys a gun on behalf of someone barred from purchasing it himself.

Pat Meehan (Republican-Drexel Hill)

Donations from CRP-designated pro-gun groups and individuals during career: $14,850 including $11,900 from the NRA

On gun control: Meehan was named a Gun Sense Champion by Everytown for Gun Safety because of his support for bills that expand background checks.

“A stronger background check system on commercial sales will make our communities safer and help keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them,” Meehan said in a statement in 2015. “This legislation will help save lives while protecting the rights of law-abiding Americans.”

He also appeared to support some of President Obama’s executive actions on gun control in 2016, per LancasterOnline:

U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan said in a statement he was “pleased” and “encouraged” with the president’s decisions to enforce and provide support for current laws rather than take further legal steps.

“I’m pleased that we’ll see a renewed emphasis on access to mental health care and more resources devoted to the background check system,” Meehan, who represents parts of eastern Lancaster County, said. “The guidance and clarifications issued today will be helpful for both law enforcement and gun sellers, and the [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] itself has made clear that what was announced contains no new legal changes.”

Pittsburgh representatives

Mike Doyle (Democrat-Pittsburgh)

Donations from CRP-designated pro-gun groups and individuals during career: None.

On gun control: Doyle has repeatedly called for gun control and co-sponsored several gun safety bills including one to “prohibit the transfer, importation, or possession of high capacity magazines (that can hold dozens of rounds of ammunition).”

He also supported President Obama’s 2016 executive actions on gun control, but called on Congress to do more:

Unfortunately, there’s only so much the President can do by himself. Other effective measures that the federal government could take to curb gun violence require Congressional approval. The President’s actions stand in stark contrast to the total inaction on this important issue in Congress, where Republicans have been stonewalling legislation like the bipartisan King-Thompson bill to strengthen background checks and close current loopholes in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System that allow criminals, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill to have easy access to guns. The President has done his part. Now, Congress should step up and finish the job.

Mike Kelly (Republican-Butler)

Donations from CRP-designated pro-gun groups and individuals during career: $25,000 including $9,000 from NRA

On gun control: Kelly calls himself a “strong believer in the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States” and opposed President Obama’s executive actions on gun control, saying “the rights of law-abiding gun owners will be violated as a result.”

Tim Murphy (Republican-Brentwood)

Accepted money from CRP-designated pro-gun groups in 2016 election cycle: $4,500

Donations from CRP-designated pro-gun groups and individuals during career: $49,500 including $33,500 from NRA

On gun control: Murphy, who touts his credentials as a psychologist, backed the repeal of an Obama measure that limited the sale of guns to people with a mental health condition who receive disability benefits.

“As a psychologist, I understand and am in full support of ensuring that someone who suffers from serious mental illness and has demonstrated risk for violence should not have access to a firearm. However, the regulation passed yesterday in the House did not address that issue,” Murphy said in a statement, according to PennLive.

Murphy also rejected the framing of his bill to expand mental health treatment as a “gun issue.”

Keith Rothfus (Republican-Oakmont)

Accepted money from CRP-designated pro-gun groups in 2016 election cycle: $7,400

Donations from CRP-designated pro-gun groups and individuals during career: $14,400 including $5,500 from NRA

On gun control: Following the Sandy Hook massacre, Rothfus criticized President Obama for “neglecting to adequately enforce gun laws.” He also opposed Obama’s 2016 executive actions on gun control, telling The Tribune-Democrat the president was “subverting our Constitution’s separation of powers and is attempting to legislate from the Oval Office.”

In a 2014 WTAE candidate biography, Rothfus said, “Federal gun laws should be tailored to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, not to restrict the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. There needs to be a reform of the mental health care system in our country, and I am co-sponsoring Congressman Tim Murphy’s legislation to that end.”

Elsewhere in Pennsylvania

Lou Barletta (Republican-Hazleton): $2,610 from CRP-designated pro-gun groups and individuals during 2016 election cycle; $19,906 from pro-gun groups and individuals since taking office including $7,500 from NRA

Matthew Cartwright (Democrat-Moosic): No pro-gun group donations during 2016 election cycle; No NRA donations

Ryan Costello (Republican-West Chester): No pro-gun group donations during 2016 election cycle; $9,900 from NRA since taking office

Charlie Dent (Republican-Allentown): $6,000 from CRP-designated pro-gun groups and individuals during 2016 election cycle; $33,600 from CRP-designated pro-gun groups and individuals since taking office including $28,850 from NRA

Tom Marino (Republican-Williamsport): $11,775 from CRP-designated pro-gun groups and individuals during 2016 election cycle; $22,525 from CRP-designated pro-gun groups and individuals since taking office including $8,000 from NRA

Scott Perry (Republican-Harrisburg): $6,750 from CRP-designated pro-gun groups and individuals during 2016 election cycle; $13,250 from CRP-designated pro-gun groups and individuals since taking office including $8,500 from NRA

Bill Shuster (Republican-Altoona): $16,450 from CRP-designated pro-gun groups and individuals during 2016 election cycle; $67,000 from CRP-designated pro-gun groups and individuals since taking office $29,400 from NRA

Lloyd Smucker (Republican-West Lampeter Township): No pro-gun group donations during 2016 election cycle; $9,450 from CRP-designated pro-gun groups and individuals since taking office including $5,950 from NRA

Glenn Thompson (Republican-Oil City): $4,549 from CRP-designated pro-gun groups and individuals during 2016 election cycle; $34,036 from CRP-designated pro-gun groups and individuals since taking office including $10,500 from NRA

This article has been updated to clarify the donation sources in CRP’s analysis.