Council President Darrell Clarke at a council session

COUNCIL PRESIDENT CLARKE INTRODUCES BOLD GUN LEGISLATION IN RESPONSE TO INCREASE IN GUN-RELATED INCIDENTS

In Council News, Darrell L. Clarke, News by PHL Council

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Philadelphia, June 20, 2019 – Philadelphia City Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) today introduced a bold package of gun legislation in response to the recent increase in gun-related violent incidents in Philadelphia, specifically 22 separate shooting incidents, 32 victims and six homicides over this past Father’s Day Weekend (reported as of June 17, 2019).

The legislative package includes:

  • An ordinance amending sections of the Philadelphia Code relating to the duties of individuals involving weapons, firearms, and ammunition, making all provisions effective immediately.
  • An ordinance to make police interactions with gun owners safer by including duties and penalties for individuals stopped by law enforcement who are licensed to carry a concealed firearm and are in possession of a concealed firearm. The ordinance further requires individuals licensed to carry a concealed firearm to have the license in his or her possession whenever he or she carries the concealed firearm.
  • An ordinance adding provisions to the Philadelphia code to allow “any two adult individuals with actual knowledge of facts and circumstances of [a] matter” to make an application to the courts for the temporary removal of firearms from persons at risk of suicide or posing a risk of substantial harm to others. This is an expansion of existing law which makes provisions for such applications by police officers and officers of the court.

The Council President noted that he expects resistance and possibly legal challenges from lobbying groups working on behalf of gun manufacturers and from the General Assembly, which claims authority over gun laws in the Commonwealth. In 2008, he and other members of Council sued to allow the City of Philadelphia to enact its own gun laws. Clarke says he’s prepared to do so again.

“Our responsibility is to use all the tools at our disposal to keep the citizens of Philadelphia safe. These ordinances respect the rights of licensed gun owners, promote safer interactions with police, and provide our citizens with means for removing weapons from persons who would be a threat to themselves or others if they continued to possess a firearm. We feel these ordinances are reasonable and that there should be no reason that the City of Philadelphia should not be able to decide for itself how to protect its citizens.”

Clarke added that Council is also taking steps to address other social and economic factors that may be contributing to the increase in gun violence.
“We’ve acknowledged the role that poverty plays in violent crime. That’s why throughout this recent budget process, we’ve made reducing poverty, improving education and strengthening the social safety net central to all of our discussions. But the conversation about reducing gun violence has to start with reducing the number of weapons on our streets.”

Copies of the ordinances are below.

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