McClinton, Davidson, Williams, community leaders push for gun safety efforts, legislation

DARBY, Dec. 7 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, local law enforcement and community leaders today urged more action on gun safety efforts and legislation. They spoke at a news conference at Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church.

"Our area has had a wave of gun violence recently. We're here today to say that gun deaths and injuries are as serious as the heroin and opioid crisis you hear so much about. Harrisburg and Washington need to take gun violence just as seriously," McClinton said.

"Homicides in Philadelphia are up 15 percent over this time last year. Tragically, the body count is likely to be over 300 for the first time since 2012. And about 85 percent of these murders are committed with guns, according to the police department."

State Sen. Anthony H. Williams, D-Phila./Delaware, said, "Gun violence continues to plague our cities and towns, from the massacre in Las Vegas to the streets of Darby. My legislative colleagues and I will continue to support programs like this while pushing for greater protections in Harrisburg to end the cycle of violence caused by illegal guns."

State Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware, said, “The level of gun violence in some of our communities is in a word, un-ignorable. For any elected official to take a passive stance on expanded background checks or lost-and-stolen provisions is a misstep equivalent to turning a blind eye to an epidemic that is cruelly killing hundreds of Americans on a weekly basis.

“Some of the solutions to these problems have been considered by various committees in the House and Senate but due to political pressure from special-interest groups, none has received the true consideration it deserves. That also needs to change.”

McClinton said, that compared to gun violence, "We've been making some progress on the opioid crisis. Governor Tom Wolf has been working with both parties in Harrisburg on that, including making a drug called Narcan, or naloxone, more widely available. It can actually reverse overdoses in many cases, giving EMS personnel enough time to get victims to the hospital and save their lives.

"But there is no Narcan for a gunshot to the head or heart. Our medical professionals do amazing work, but they can't reverse a gun death. We need smart policies that reduce gun violence up front, laws that help to prevent it," said McClinton, who is a newly appointed member of the Pennsylvania Sentencing Commission.

Also joining McClinton at the news conference were representatives of Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church, the Darby Police Department, Darby borough government and community groups.

McClinton called on the area's U.S. representatives and senators to reject H.R. 38, the proposed Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, saying, "This crazy bill would impose other states' weaker gun laws on Pennsylvania."

McClinton concluded, "We hear a lot about thoughts and prayers after shootings. In addition to being a legislator, I'm a minister. I believe in thoughts and prayers. But I also believe that God calls us to act, and expects us to act. He has given us the ability to do something about these crises."

McClinton is a member of the PA SAFE Caucus, the firearm safety caucus in the state House. She said members have introduced several commonsense bills that would make a difference on gun violence – more information about the legislation is available at www.pahouse.com/PASafe.

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