Pawlowski attended the rollout event in the Old Executive Office Building next to the White House where a somber Obama aimed to ramp up public pressure on Congress by unveiling a sweeping gun control plan of which most would require congressional action.
"I applaud the President," Pawlowski said. "I’m hoping the members of Congress will have just as much courage to do the right thing. How many more kids, how many more lives have to be lost before we get the message here in Washington that something has to be done?"
He echoed the president’s message that the federal government must endeavor to stop the mass killings like the one that stole the lives of 20 first graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary a month ago. Pawlowski said that even if the stricter gun measures wouldn't have stopped that tragedy, it’s still worth trying.
"Maybe it’s only solving part of the problem, but it’s a start," Pawlowski said.
Obama called for universal background checks on all firearms purchases, and a renewal of an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004, which banned certain models of AR-15s, an assault-style rifle used by the killer at Sandy Hook.
Lehigh Valley U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent was quoted in Politico on Wednesday as saying semi-automatic weapons are “commonly owned” in the 15th district. “This AR-15 that they’re all talking about is one of the most popular hunting rifles in the country," he told the DC-publication.
The AR-15, unless modified to be a manually operated rifle, is not legally allowed for hunting in Pennsylvania. In other words, automatic and semi-automatics cannot be used.
Jerry Feaser, spokesman for the PA Gaming Commission, explained that the reason for that is they want "the hunter to make a conscientious decision on each shot, to make a clean and ethical kill. We don't want to have a situation where a hunter is just taking lots of shots without being careful of their shot."
Dent, speaking from the House Republican retreat being held this week, said he would not support an assault weapon ban, but "could consider" limiting magazine capacity. He also said he's interested in tightening background checks though was not definitive on that either.
The owner of a 12-gauge shotgun for recreational purposes, Dent said taking away people's firearms that they lawfully use for recreational purposes wouldn't impact crime, especially since the government couldn't go around confiscating such guns already owned.
Alternatively, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, who had something of an epiphany on gun issues right after the Sandy Hook murders, said, "in terms of voting on the military style weapons ban and ammunition limits, I would vote for them, they both make sense"
"This tragedy shook me in a way that was just remarkable. I can’t think of a time, rarely have I been shaken by an issue that would have some implications for public policy," he said. "It caused me to think more deeply about these issues than maybe I did previously."