The Pennsylvania chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement in response to a student who shot and killed another student outside of a school in Pittsburgh. According to reports, the shooter has been arrested and there is no other potential threat to the school.
“It’s heartbreaking that our kids can’t even get to the front door of their school without being shot,” said Michelle Simon, a volunteer with the Pennsylvania chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Our kids have the right to learn and play without having to dodge bullets. Our lawmakers have an opportunity to pass gun safety laws this session that could prevent gun violence at our schools – like a bill requiring all firearms to be securely stored – and we hope that they will respond to the needs of our community and protect our kids from these cycles of gun violence.”
“We as students have grown tired of having to worry if we will be the next one struck by a bullet when going to school, a concert, or the park — we cannot accept these shootings in our community as the norm,” said Larren Wells, a volunteer with the Pennsylvania chapter of Students Demand Action. “We deserve to feel safe in our communities and leaders at all levels need to step up by passing common-sense gun safety laws that will keep us safe.”
The Pennsylvania House took an important step forward on gun safety by passing two gun safety bills this past Monday; HB 1018 — which would establish an Extreme Risk law sometimes known as “Red Flag” law; and HB 714 — which expands background checks. Unfortunately, the House failed to pass legislation that would require a person to report a lost or stolen firearm. The House still needs to vote on HB 731 — which would require all firearms to be securely stored. Gun violence is the leading cause of death amongst children and young adults, and securely storing firearms is one way to ensure that kids do not have access to firearms.
While there is no one solution to end gun violence, Community Violence Intervention Programs like Philadelphia Ceasefire play a key role in making cities safer. By utilizing a public health model, these community-led programs have been shown to reduce gun violence in some of the most heavily impacted neighborhoods. These programs are often uniquely situated to address violence in their communities, but they need support from policymakers in order to sustain and expand their life-saving work. Leaders and legislators must invest in these community-driven, evidence-based interventions.
In an average year 1,713 people are killed by guns in Pennsylvania, and 1,992 more are shot and wounded. Gun violence costs Pennsylvania $21.7 billion each year, of which $470.7 million is paid by taxpayers. More information on gun violence in Pennsylvania is available here.