State Rep. Amen Brown calls on legislature to increase funding for attorney general to combat gun violence

HARRISBURG, March 24 -- State Rep. Amen Brown, D-Phila, is calling on the PA General Assembly to increase funding for two programs in the state Attorney General’s office: the Gun Violence Task Force and the Strategic Response Team.

“The Philadelphia Police Department has experienced unprecedented staff shortages, and this has led to criminals using this to their advantage – we need more officers on the street to get rid of the guns and violence,” Brown said.

The Gun Violence Task Force is a coalition between The Office of the Attorney General, the Philadelphia Police Department and the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, which investigates the origin of guns used in crimes and traces them to prevent future crimes. More than 3,000 guns have been seized since the task force’s inception.

The Strategic Response Team is responsible for taking down drug operations that also use firearms. Since July, this effort led to a 46% decrease in shootings in the 18th police district and a 18% decrease in the 19th police district, and agents and officers have seized 63 guns and made 178 arrests since the program launched earlier this year, according to the attorney general’s website.

“These operations clearly work, and they need more funding so then can spread the vital work they do across the city,” Brown said. “Right now, they can only work in one Zip Code at a time. That is why I am calling on my colleagues to invest $3 million per year in these programs moving forward, so we can mimic the work they have done across the city of Philadelphia.”

Brown added that Philadelphia has had more than 100 homicides this year so far and said the gun violence is out of control.