HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Reps. Frank Farry and K.C. Tomlinson joined local law enforcement officials to introduce legislation that would impose a mandatory minimum sentence for previously convicted offenders that are found to be illegally in possession of a firearm.

The Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub; Bensalem Mayor Joseph DiGirolamo; Bill McVey, director of Public Safety Bensalem Township Police Department; and numerous Bucks County law enforcement leaders joined Farry and Tomlinson at the press conference at the Bensalem Township Building.

“As violence and crime continues to surge in Philadelphia, dangerous criminals are often crossing into our communities and illegally possessing firearms without regard for punishment. Quite often we hear the comment that the criminal should have never been on the street, but what we don’t often hear is they should have never had a firearm.” Farry said. “Our legislation would enact a mandatory minimum jail sentence for those that continue to defy the law and illegally possess a firearm.”

“We are in a very unique position here in Bensalem,” Tomlinson said. “We border Philadelphia and are centrally located around all the major cities of the Northeast United States. We also have multiple major access points, including the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I-95, Route 1 and Route 13, that filter all types of criminals into our county. Stronger sentencing will better protect our families and businesses.”

House Bill 2819 would impose new mandatory minimum sentences for those who were previously convicted of a felony and found to be illegally possessing a firearm.

A first time offender would receive an mandatory minimum sentence of eleven months. After each offense, the jail sentence would increase significantly.

“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.”

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