Our city and country have experienced a steep rise in gun violence over the past few years. Our administration has spent these years grappling with this rising epidemic and doing everything in our power to stop it and try to understand why the violence continues—it’s senseless, needless, and deeply troubling.
The safety of our residents and visitors is always our top priority. Our administration, in partnership with all of our local and federal law enforcement agencies, continues to work to stop the violence by responding to the immediate crisis while also addressing the root, systemic causes of gun violence.
We cannot accept continued violence as a way of life in our country. And until we address the availability and ease of access to firearms, we will always be fighting an uphill battle.
As Mayor, I will continue to fight to protect our communities and urge others to advocate for stronger laws that keep guns out of the hands of violent individuals. Until state lawmakers stop blocking local governments from enacting and enforcing commonsense gun laws, our fight for meaningful gun reform will not end.
Today, I’m sharing a few ways you can help and some resources for anyone who has been affected by gun violence.
Make your voice heard
Our state and federal legislators have the power to keep our residents safer. This is not about taking away rights. It’s about protecting the lives of our residents, especially our children.
It is critical that Philadelphians contact their representatives and share their opinion on legislation that would help prevent gun violence and save lives. The majority of Philadelphians, like most Americans (nearly 60 percent), and most Pennsylvanians (more than 70 percent), support sensible gun legislation, but their voices are not being heard by legislators.
I recently joined with more than 255 mayors again calling on Congress to pass two laws, HR8 and HR1112, that would increase background checks and add additional time for them to be completed, prohibit unlicensed transfers of guns through unregulated secondary sales, and increase law enforcement’s ability to trace crime guns. You should weigh in on these pieces of legislation or others.
- Contact state legislators to share how you feel about legislation that impacts Philadelphia’s ability to act on gun control.
- For a list of gun-related legislation pending in Harrisburg see ceasefirepa.org or Everytown’s list of protections PA is missing.
- Contact the U.S. Congress to express your support for legislation that would save lives, including.
Call 2-1-1, our City’s 24-Hour Violence Prevention Hotline
If you or someone you know is at risk of engaging in or being affected by gun violence, call the City’s 24-hour Gun Violence Prevention hotline by dialing 2-1-1 and pressing option 3.
Examples of the kinds of services and resources that are available are:
- Conflict intervention.
- Youth violence prevention.
- Peer counseling.
- Referrals to violence prevention community organizations.
- Neighborhood crisis mediation services.
- Workforce development and jobs training programs.
- Behavioral health and crisis support services.
- Community support services (CLIP, L&I) for vandalism, graffiti, litter, and vacant lots.
- After-school programming, mentoring, and academic support services.
Prioritize gun safety at home
The best way to protect your children from accidental shootings is to not keep firearms in your home, but if you choose to keep a gun at home, be sure it is stored safely. This means locking your gun up—unloaded—and storing it separately from ammunition. Your ammunition should also be locked up. You should let all family members know the rules about handling guns, especially children. Here are ten ways you can support gun safety in your home.
Get a free gun lock
The Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office provides free gun locks to anyone upon request. To receive a gun lock, you can either pick one up at the front desk of the Sheriff’s Office on the 5th Floor of 100 S. Broad Street between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. or call 215-686-3572. Leave your name, number, and address and someone from the Sheriff’s Office will quickly be in touch with you. Learn more about this program from the Sheriff’s Office.
Temple University Hospital’s Safe Bet program offers free cable gun locks to families who have small children and firearms. No questions asked.
Get trauma and mental health support if you are struggling
As our country and city continue to deal with what feels like tragedy after tragedy, some people may be experiencing feelings of anxiety, depression, unrest, anger, or more. It’s okay to not be okay.
If you are in crisis, call the Philadelphia Crisis Line at 215-685-6440. This hotline operates 24/7 and has behavioral health specialists ready to respond to those in need of immediate help.
Below are a few additional resources:
- Boost Your Mood is a resource guide from Healthy Minds Philly that has wellness and mental health tips for everyone.
- DBHIDS has created a digital palm card full of trauma resources and supports to help you navigate through some of life’s challenges.
- Healthy Minds Philly has a guide to Addressing Trauma and Violence which provides information about community support in the face of trauma.
- Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services has many resources to support mental health.
- The Office of Black Male Engagement is partnering with Black Men Heal to provide free therapy to those who have been impacted by gun violence. Learn more about their Gun Violence Group Therapy here and sign up today.
If you have the time or resources, consider getting involved with a local or state advocacy group. Whether you decide to volunteer, donate, or spread the word, you can help in the fight to end gun violence.