Skip to content

New Here?

Philadelphia Mass Shooting Could Have Been Prevented by an Extreme Risk Law and State-Wide Law Prohibiting Ghost Guns

July 6, 2023

According to Reports, Suspected Shooter Demonstrated Troubling Warning Signs Witnessed By People Who Lived With Him and Used A Ghost Gun To Carry Out Shooting 

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney Announced on Wednesday a Lawsuit Against Some Of The Largest Suppliers of Ghost Guns Confiscated In Philadelphia, Polymer80, Inc. and JSD Supply 

PHILADELPHIA – On Monday night, seven people were shot, five fatally, in Philadelphia when a man opened fire along several blocks. According to local police, those killed ranged in age from 15 to 59, and the two people wounded are two years old and 13 years old. Reports indicate that the shooter was wearing a ballistic vest and carrying two ghost guns, an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle, a 9mm handgun, police scanner and multiple magazines of ammunition. Developing reports have said that the shooter exhibited troubling behavior witnessed by people that lived with him leading up to the shooting. Pennsylvania does not have an Extreme Risk law which is designed to prevent this kind of shooting and save lives, allowing people closest to the shooter to act on warning signs and help disarm the shooter before the shooting can happen.  

Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania House passed HB 1018 — this bill would establish an Extreme Risk law sometimes known as “Red Flag” law that would create a process allowing law enforcement, family, or household members to petition a court to temporarily restrict a person who is showing warning signs of dangerous behavior from accessing firearms. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia now have Extreme Risk laws because they can help put time and space between a person in crisis and firearms and are a proven way to prevent gun violence. Currently, the bill is awaiting a hearing in the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee and lawmakers should act quickly to advance the bill. 

Mass shooters often display dangerous warning signs before the shooting occurs. In fact, in 32 percent of the mass shootings in which four or more people were killed from 2015-2022, a shooter exhibited at least one warning sign before the shooting, highlighting the need for these laws. Extreme Risk laws have broad support from law enforcement and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle because they are a common-sense way to prevent access to a deadly weapon and prevent gun violence before it can start. More information about Extreme Risk, or Red Flag laws, is available here.

Even though the city of Philadelphia has recognized and tried to address the danger of ghost guns, Pennsylvania lacks a state-wide law prohibiting the kinds of ghost guns the shooter was carrying in Philadelphia. Ghost guns are a fast-growing gun safety problem facing our country. They are impossible to trace, and across the country, law enforcement officers are recovering increasing numbers of homemade, unserialized guns, including from people who are legally prohibited from having guns. 

Yesterday, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced a lawsuit against Polymer80, Inc. and JSD Supply. According to reports, these companies are among the largest suppliers of ghost guns confiscated in Philadelphia. Mayor Kenney is a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a joint program of the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund and Everytown for Gun Safety. More information about ghost guns is available here

In an average year in Pennsylvania, 1,713 people die by guns, and 1,992 more are wounded by guns. 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.  

To speak to a local volunteer with Moms Demand Action, a volunteer with Students Demand Action, or a policy expert, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

If you're a member of the media, please send inquiries to [email protected]