Gun violence ‘isn’t just a Philadelphia problem’

On the same day Pennsylvania was voted the No. 4 state for black homicide victimization in the US, the NRA said it filed a lawsuit against the city of Philadelphia over its gun regulations.

The Violence Policy Center survey ranks Pennsylvania fourth in the nation for black homicide, 31.02 killings for every 100,000 African-Americans.

The state’s black homicide rate is far above the national average, and 87 percent of victims being killed with guns, according to the survey, which analyzed data from 2012, the latest year for which complete data was available.

On Wednesday, the National Rifle Association announced its plan to sue Philadelphia and three other major Pennsylvania cities, over their gun regulations.

The NRA’s decision to sue was not unexpected, but the timing is ironic, said Shira Goodman, executive director CeaseFirePA a group advocating for tighter restrictions on firearms.

“They obviously don’t think we have a gun violence problem,” Goodman said, “but we do.”

The Policy Center’s study, based on unpublished data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has been published yearly since 2006. And every year Pennsylvania has landed in the top five.

“That is not a point of pride,” Goodman said.

A 40-year-old state law forbids cities and municipalities from passing their own gun regulations, but many cities, including Philadelphia, have ignored the law.

Last week, Pennsylvania enacted a new law that will make it easier to rein in municipalities that have passed their own gun restrictions. That’s led pro-gun to ramp up lawsuits against municipalities. Lawsuits have also been filed against Harrisburg, Lancaster and Pittsburg.

Goodman said state legislators are bending over backwards to give the NRA special rights that no other organization enjoys and “harm cities that are trying to solve their violence problems.”

“Certainly Philadephia always accounts for the highest numbers,” said Goodman. “But it’s not just a Philadelphia problem.”

More from our Sister Sites