PLBC thanks Wolf for calling illegal gun violence a crisis during Phila. visit

PHILADELPHIA, March 2 – Leaders of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus thanked Gov. Tom Wolf for calling gun violence a crisis during his visit to Philadelphia today.

State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the PLBC, hosted Wolf as the governor and PLBC members visited a memorial to local victims of gun violence. The governor and legislators then held a public roundtable with members of the local community who have been affected by gun violence as well as other local leaders, including Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.

Harris said: "Illegal gun violence in Pennsylvania is a public health crisis and it's important that we call it that. We must be concerned about the neighborhood shootings that take lives one or two at a time as well as the tragic mass shootings that tend to dominate the headlines. Every victim matters.

"So we appreciate Governor Wolf coming to Philadelphia and calling illegal gun violence what it is – a public health crisis. We look forward to working with the administration to identify resources to help stem the tide of gun violence in our communities."

Wolf said: "We do need to make sure we are approaching this as the health crisis that this is. We need to make sure that we do everything we can to change the mindset of a nation, a whole nation, that is taking an entirely too casual approach to gun violence."

State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., vice chair of the PLBC, said: "When we acknowledge something as a public health issue, then governments pool their resources and collective agencies behind addressing the problem, from the polio epidemics in the early part of the 20th century, to the opioid crisis today. We can leverage not just funds but also the expertise of government departments. We look forward to working with the governor on addressing gun violence, not only with a criminal justice response, but also with a public health response."