Philadelphia House Delegation applauds $2.5 million increase for Attorney General’s Gun Violence Task Force
PHILADELPHIA, July 12 – As the state budget came to a close in late June, members of the House Philadelphia Delegation were able to increase funding, by $2.5 million, for Philadelphia’s Gun Violence Task Force, said state Rep. Jason Dawkins, the delegation’s chairman.
“Gun violence is a public health crisis in Philadelphia, and I am proud that my colleagues and I were able to help increase funding for this program within the attorney general’s office,” Dawkins said. These funds will help make our communities safer and will help provide the tools we need to stop the shootings.”
The Gun Violence Task Force is a program within the attorney general’s office that targets gun traffickers and gets illegal guns off the street in Philadelphia. The attorney general has also been granted the ability to prosecute straw purchases or sales, or felons who possess firearms.
Members of the delegation supported these changes on a statewide level, so that all 67 counties would be able to use every resource available to combat the epidemic of gun violence. With this focus on Philadelphia, it’s the hope of the delegation that the attorney general and Philadelphia District Attorney continue to work together to utilize every available opportunity to combat this problem.
“This is an issue that requires all hands on deck to come up with real solutions. We must get the illegal guns off the street and provide our young people with opportunities and education and jobs,” Dawkins said. “We need a comprehensive gun violence prevention strategy to fix this and this is one step in that direction.
“As each day passes this summer in Philadelphia, more and more of our community members are being shot and killed. We all must work together to deal with the problems that people in Philadelphia want and need us to deal with. We cannot go through this summer with our families afraid to take their kids to the park or host celebratory gatherings where they have a fear where they may be subject to a shooting.”
Dawkins noted the additional $2.5 million is a 57% increase in funding over last year. These are vitally important resources that are desperately needed at a time when the pace of shootings is on par with 2018, which had 348 homicides, the most since 2007, he said.
While the budget was being negotiated and finalized during the month of June, 147 people were shot in Philadelphia. To date this year, there have been 175 homicides in the city.