Police vehicles are parked at Roxborough High School near where multiple people were shot in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022. Authorities have identified the 14-year-old youth killed in a shooting on Tuesday that also wounded several other teens as they walked away from a Philadelphia high school athletic field after a football scrimmage.  (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) Shooting Near High School
Police vehicles are parked at Roxborough High School near where multiple people were shot in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022. Authorities have identified the 14-year-old youth killed in a shooting on Tuesday that also wounded several other teens as they walked away from a Philadelphia high school athletic field after a football scrimmage. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Despite a surge in gun deaths in Pennsylvania over the last decade, Republican lawmakers in Harrisburg and Washington have consistently voted against gun safety laws. This  Election Day offers voters a chance for change.

A 14-year-old youth was killed and four other students wounded in a shooting near Roxborough High School in Philadelphia Tuesday after a football scrimmage.

Police said players were walking off the field when at least two people opened fire shortly after 4:30 p.m. before fleeing on foot.

The shooting occurred hours after Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signed an executive order banning guns and deadly weapons from the city’s indoor and outdoor recreation spaces including parks, basketball courts and pools. Kenney’s order marks the latest attempt by city officials to regulate guns inside city limits, something made difficult by Pennsylvania’s preemption law that bars municipalities from enacting or enforcing their own stricter gun regulations.

Following Tuesday’s shooting, Democratic US Rep. Dwight Evans, whose congressional district borders Philadelphia’s Roxborough neighborhood, Tweeted what anyone who supports sensible gun safety laws was likely thinking—a group that does not include the Republicans representing Pennsylvania in Harrisburg and Washington.

Pennsylvania’s nine Republican US Reps have consistently voted against gun safety laws. All but one of them voted against the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act over the summer, in response to deadly mass shootings at a Buffalo, N.Y. supermarket and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Congress ultimately passed the sweeping legislation which was signed into law by President Joe Biden.

Late last year, the Republican-led state House and Senate both voted in favor of a bill to allow Pennsylvanians to carry concealed weapons without a permit, measures vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf. Earlier this year, Wolf also vetoed legislation to help gun owners and gun-rights organizations collect damages in court from cities that passed firearms restrictions that were found to violate state law.

The future of gun control will be a big issue on Election Day in Pennsylvania. Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, who has likened gun control to Nazism, thinks arming teachers is a responsible way to combat gun violence in schools. His opponent, Democrat, Josh Shapiro, supports numerous gun safety measures. As the state’s attorney general, Shaipro has fought hard to establish firearm laws, like regulating “ghost guns”—untraceable weapons assembled from parts.

Republican US Senate hopeful Dr. Mehmet Oz opposes all gun safety laws, even as firearms are involved in the overwhelming majority of murders in the US, and the rate of gun deaths in surged by 23% in Pennsylvania between 2011 and 2020. His opponent, John Fetterman, a gun owner, supports “common-sense” gun safety laws that are enormously popular, including universal background checks and “red flag laws”—which are intended to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and others who might hurt others or themselves. 

There’s a clear choice on gun control in the midterm elections. You can vote for candidates who will fight for strong, sensible gun regulation. Or you can vote for lawmakers who favor thoughts, prayers, permitless carry laws, and arming school teachers.