What Our City Needs Episode 1: Philly vs. PA on gun control
Philadelphia already has some gun control laws on the books, but something called preemption stops their enforcement.
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In 2020, Philadelphia had 499 homicides and 2,244 total shooting victims as of September 2021. The city has not seen numbers that high since the 90s and it continues to soar with someone being shot everyday since Jan. 2, 2021.
This surge within the last few years has left city officials to scramble for answers and solutions to its gun violence issue — now labeled an epidemic. These solutions range from but are not limited to, funding for violence prevention initiatives, and most recently as of October 2020, its lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for its inability to enact its own gun control ordinances.
This inability is caused by something called preemption. Preemption gives Pennsylvania the right to regulate, create, and or override laws in all its municipalities — including Philadelphia’s gun control laws.
With a majority-Republican Pennsylvania state legislature, it is no surprise that the state’s gun laws reflect the party’s often lax approach to gun control. Moreover, the approach was settled on to suit the majority coming from suburban and rural areas where activities like hunting are common, while in municipalities where firearm homicides are high like Philadelphia, there is little consideration for the after effects.
However, in episode 1 of AL DIA’s multi-part video series, “What Our City Needs”, on the city’s complex gun violence issue, Philadelphia City Solicitor Diana Cortes breaks down the city’s fourth attempt in suing PA for the right to enact its own gun laws that suit the needs of the city.
Alongside Cortes, State Rep. Danilo Burgos says that he too challenges the state’s apathetic attitudes towards the city’s crisis, and supports the city’s fight in its alleviation of countless death sentences by firearms.