PHILADELPHIA − February 26, 2021 – District Attorney Larry Krasner on Friday joined Mayor Jim Kenney, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, Senator Sharif Street, Senator Art Haywood and other state and local leaders to demand action to reduce and prevent gun violence.
Officials were joined by community-based anti-violence organizers and area residents at Olney Transportation Center, the site of a mass shooting on February 17th in which eight people ranging in age from 17 to 71 were shot. All are expected to recover. The Philadelphia Police and District Attorney’s Office (DAO) continue to seek information from the public that could lead to the identification and arrest of three males believed to be responsible for the shooting.
Pennsylvania has among the laxest gun restrictions in the country. Deadly weapons sold in Pennsylvania frequently are tied to violent crimes committed in nearby states that enforce far more sensible regulations on guns. District Attorney Krasner joined community activists and state and local officials in calling for the majority leadership of the Pennsylvania General Assembly to take action on a host of legislative reforms that, if enacted, would save lives immediately.
“We are here because the crisis of gun violence can be confronted and brought under control, if powerful politicians in Harrisburg and in Washington would just do as Americans have long demanded, which is to put public health and safety before private greed and campaign donors,” District Attorney Krasner said. “Philadelphians deserve and demand safety from deadly firearms and the corrupt gun lobbyists at the NRA who have convinced politicians in state capitols and in Washington, D.C., that access to ‘ghost guns’ meant for terrorists and other criminals, AR-15s, and military-grade weaponry are some sacred right. People who live in this community and in every community deserve to go to work, go to school, and be with friends and family without getting shot. Philadelphians deserve to live in freedom and in peace — not fear of gun violence.”
“As gun violence continues to plague our communities, we must rise together with one clear and united moral voice against these evil acts and the policies that contribute to the flow of guns in our city,” Mayor Kenney said. “The Pennsylvania General Assembly has not only refused to enact sensible gun regulations at the state level, but also continues to block cities from enacting their own local gun laws. Philadelphia already has sensible gun ordinances on the books — laws that are commonplace in other jurisdictions, do not violate the Second Amendment, and have been shown to be effective. But for preemption, Philadelphia would be able to enforce these laws and save the lives of many Philadelphians.”
“The social determinants of gun violence are well known. Poverty, joblessness, increased stress and ease of access to firearms inevitably result in an increase of shootings. This is consistent with national trends as a health crisis has deepened poverty, unemployment and decreased social activity at a level we’ve never seen,” Senator Street said. “But the drivers of this violence are varied, and so we must be comprehensive in our efforts. Governor Wolf has provided the funding, anti-violence advocates and law enforcement continue to do the work on the ground. Republican Leadership in Harrisburg must do its part to address gun reform policy that has gone ignored for too long. This includes common-sense measures like safe storage laws, lost and stolen reporting mandates and legislation I’ve reintroduced to ban weapons of war. I urge my colleagues to join me in addressing the pandemic of gun violence across our Commonwealth.”
City Council Majority Leader Cherelle Parker (9th District) said: “The General Assembly cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the scourge of gun violence plaguing Philadelphia. We need everyone to understand that this gun violence, which is moving at a record-setting pace in our city, is a public health crisis and should be treated with a sense of urgency. So, if the state has decided that it won’t help us combat this gun violence crisis, we need it to remove the legislative shackles of preemption, so that Philadelphia can enact laws at the municipal level in efforts to prevent the next mass shooting from happening in our city.”
“In a state as diverse as Pennsylvania, each community has its own needs and faces different risks; but the gun violence epidemic affects us all,” said Benjamin D. Geffen, staff attorney at Public Interest Law Center and the PA Safety Alliance. “Poll after poll shows that Pennsylvanians support sensible gun regulation that will make people safer. Our state legislature must act now to help protect us all. We cannot ignore the loss of life anymore in Philadelphia or anywhere in the state.
Adam Garber, executive director of CeaseFirePA, said: “Whether eight people are shot in one place or across Philadelphia in a day, this is the definition of a public health crisis that demands action. The General Assembly’s refusal to act puts lives at risk. Tying the hands of local officials who are pleading for help, as they gather at shooting scenes and funerals, is unacceptable.”
The Philadelphia Police announced that the City of Philadelphia and the ATFare offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to arrest and conviction of persons responsible for the February 17th mass shooting at the Olney Transportation Center. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact police by dialing 911, contacting the PPD Tipline (215-686-TIPS), submitting an online tip at phillypolice.com, or contacting the Northwest Detectives Division directly (215-685-3353).
The DAO is a member of the PA Safety Alliance, a statewide coalition of organizations committed to reducing gun violence. Pennsylvanians may contact their state lawmakers to demand action on stalled gun safety legislation by signing this petition: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/ending-gun-violence-in-pennsylvania.
More information on gun safety legislation that, if enacted, could immediately save lives in Pennsylvania can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/9drp5rfj.