PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia City Council on Thursday approved a resolution urging Mayor Jim Kenney to declare the Philadelphia's gun violence crisis a citywide emergency.
The resolution was proposed by Councilmember Jamie Gauthier in August and has since been co-sponsored by 14 councilmembers. According to a Thursday morning press release, the resolution also calls for greater transparency on gun violence prevention initiatives and expanded coordination among law enforcement agencies.
Councilmembers also demand an increased use of Philadelphia's "dynamic private sector," in addition to community outreach programs, educational institutions, and healthcare organizations.
The resolution comes on the heels of a deadly quadruple shooting at a basketball court in Spring Gardens. Police say two young men, ages 18 and 21, were gunned down Wednesday night 1800 block of Wallace Street.
“This is just the latest indicator of what we already know: we need to do much more than we’re currently doing to address this crisis," Councilmember Gauthier said. "That is why we are calling on Mayor Kenney to lead a coordinated effort that treats this deadly epidemic – which is traumatizing Black and Brown communities across Philadelphia – with the urgency it deserves."
In a statement made to FOX 29, Mayor Kenney said he will take the newly passed resolution "under consideration." Kenney called gun violence Philadelphia's "original public health crisis" and vowed to continue to prioritized tackling the scourge of shootings.
“One homicide is one too many, however, this year too many Philadelphians have had their lives cut tragically short due to gun violence," Kenney said. "Our Administration maintains our sense of urgency on this mounting public health crisis."
The mayor highlighted the Philadelphia Police Department's newly released action plan and the Office of Violence Prevention’s Roadmap to Safer Communities program as steps that have been taken to clamp down violence.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Keney (Samantha Madera/City of Philadelphia)
Kenney says greater gun laws at the state and federal level are "critical" in Philadelphia's battle against gun violence. The mayor says lawmakers must "develop the courage to shake the grip of the NRA" to enact reform and keep firearms away from violent offenders.
According to the city council, there have been nearly 330 people killed by guns and more than 1,400 people have been shot. Councilmembers cite an "alarming" number of shootings involve women and children. The rate of gun violence homicides ranks Philadelphia second in the nation.
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