PHILADELPHIA – December 30, 2021 – City and community leaders on Thursday memorialized the lives lost and forever traumatized by gun violence in Philadelphia and urged gun owners to exercise basic common sense ahead of New Year’s celebrations.
Pennsylvania Senator Sharif Street, District Attorney Larry Krasner, and Sheriff Rochelle Bilal joined anti-violence advocates in warning that public that so-called celebratory gunfire is always illegal, regardless of the occasion.
“This year has brought unprecedented levels of gun violence for our nation and my city. The many factors that drive this issue means there are ways we can win,” said Senator Street, who has sponsored multiple gun safety bills that could make an immediate difference in Pennsylvania communities. “We can keep our communities safe. Personal safety and responsibility is a part of that. Avoiding needless death and injury through celebratory gunfire is a positive way to end 2021.”
“Regardless of whether you own your firearm legally and have it appropriately registered, there is no reason to fire it in the City of Philadelphia, including on New Year’s Eve when Philadelphia Police and other law enforcement will on high alert to ensure our communities are safe and peaceful,” DA Krasner said. “It is a crime, period, to recklessly wield or fire a weapon for any reason other than self-defense. The applicable charges range from Reckless Endangerment, a serious misdemeanor, to Risking a Catastrophe, which is a felony, to God forbid, felony Aggravated Assault or Murder if that bullet injures another person. At a time when too many families are grieving a loved one from senseless gun violence, exercise some common sense and humanity and keep your guns stored safely away, as required by law.”
“The New Year gives you an opportunity for a new beginning. Use caution when storing and using your firearm,” Sheriff Rochelle Bilal said. “We want everyone in Philadelphia to be safe this New Year’s Eve, so do not shoot your gun in the air. Bullets come back down and strike your fellow residents. Also, let’s keep your family, friends and neighbors safe by using a gun lock and storing your weapon in a locked drawer or safe”
Joining the public safety leaders at Thursday’s press conference were PA Rep. Danilo Burgos; Bilal Qayyum of Father’s Day Rally Committee; Cathy Hicks, President of the Philadelphia NAACP, and Rev. Robert Collier, President of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia & Vicinity.
Gun locks are available for free with no questions asked in Philadelphia, where safe storage in households with minors is the law. Members of the public may request gun locks by visiting the front desk of the Sheriff’s Office (100 S. Broad St., 5th Floor) between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays or calling the Sheriff’s hotline number at 215-686-3572.