Rep. Johnson-Harrell appointed by Gov. Wolf to gun violence council, introduces legislation to reduce gun violence in PA

HARRISBURG, Sept. 20 – State Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell, D-Phila., longtime anti-gun violence advocate, today announced her appointment to serve on Gov. Tom Wolf’s Special Council on Gun Violence.

The announcement comes on what would have been the 27th birthday of her son, Charles, who was shot to death in a case of mistaken identity in 2011. He was just 18 at the time.

“After losing my son, I turned my grief into activism and began advocating for countless families in Philadelphia and across our state who’ve also been left reeling for solace and solutions after losing loved ones to gun violence,” Johnson-Harrell said. “I am grateful for Governor Wolf appointing me to this council so I can continue my mission to protect families from this ravaging epidemic.”

The governor’s Special Council on Gun Violence was unveiled in August and included in a package of provisions in an executive order he signed to reduce gun violence following spates of shootings in Philadelphia. As a member of the council, Johnson-Harrell is authorized to attend council meetings, engage in discussions and vote on matters relevant to combatting gun violence across Pennsylvania.

In addition to being appointed to the council and to further her mission to reducing statewide gun violence, Johnson-Harrell recently introduced legislation that would require a selection committee to accept proposals for a non-partisan research center for gun-related violence in Pennsylvania. The center, hosted by eligible independent colleges, state-related and state-owned institutions would be responsible for working with the executive and legislative branches to identify, implement and evaluate innovative gun violence prevention policies and programs. It would also be responsible for conducting interdisciplinary research, all of which would be made available to the public.

To generate research content for the center, Johnson-Harrell introduced an accompanying resolution to direct the Joint State Government Commission to research gun violence as a public health crisis to uncover how Pennsylvania can best combat the unacceptable violence plaguing the state and nation.

“As legislators, it is our duty to protect and serve our constituents through the creation of comprehensive laws and directives,” Johnson-Harrell said. “Through research and discussion, we can help lower the shockingly high rates of gun violence ending the lives of our loved ones.”