Philadelphia City Council wants to trade guns for groceries in renewed community effort against gun violence
Last year’s effort alongside the Father’s Day Rally Committee succeeded in getting 100 guns off the street over several weekends.
2020 was the worst year for homicides in the City of Philadelphia since 1990.
City leaders have pinpointed Philadelphia’s poverty as the root cause of the uptick in violence, made worse by the economic collapse that accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, solutions for Philadelphia’s poverty are long-winded and yearslong affairs. They’re underway, but do little to combat immediate crises, like gun violence, that come on the long road that’s been laid out to a more equitable, hopeful future for all Philadelphians.
Solutions are needed along the way, and community gun buybacks or givebacks have been one of the few successful efforts in combating the city’s gun violence scourge.
Last year, in partnership with the Father’s Day Rally Committee, a longtime community organization dedicated to promoting positive action from fathers, Philadelphia City Council hosted a number of gun buybacks in different neighborhoods over several weekends that resulted in about 100 guns being turned in and off the streets.
This year, with renewed energy and new funding to the tune of $10,000 from the Greenfield Foundation, City Council and the Father’s Day Rally Committee are hosting two gun buybacks on Saturday, Jan. 23 at two churches.
The first, in South Philadelphia, will be held at Yesha Ministries at 2301 Snyder Ave. The other will be at the Greater Exodus Baptist Church at 704 North Broad Street, at the intersection of Broad and Fairmount.
Those that turn in a handgun or semi-automatic weapon at the two locations will get a $100 gift card to Brown’s ShopRites, which operates six ShopRites in Philadelphia and four more in surrounding Pennsylvania and New Jersey counties.
Beyond the gun buybacks, Councilmembers Kenyatta Johnson, Curtis Jones and Council President Darrell Clarke have renewed calls for Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney to declare a citywide state of emergency for gun violence.
As of Jan. 21, 2021 there have been 32 homicides in Philadelphia this year, a 10% increase from the record year of gun violence that was 2020.
“If this isn’t a state of emergency, I don’t know what is,” Johnson was quoted saying during a virtual briefing earlier in the week by KYW.
Johnson went on to say the resolution would allow City Council to get weekly updates on how the city is addressing the problem.
This article is part of Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project among more than 20 news organizations focused on economic mobility in Philadelphia. Read all of our reporting as brokeinphilly.org.