Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf brought a host of supporters to the General Assembly late last month to lobby for $6 million for programs to reduce gun violence. Students from Philadelphia’s public Parkway Northwest High School for Peace and Justice joined lawmakers, activists, and community leaders to support the governor’s 2020-21 budget request.
“Too many Pennsylvanians have been traumatized by gun violence, so I’m here today because we know we have not done enough,” Gov. Wolf said on his official web site. “We need to do better. We have an enormous opportunity to improve life in Pennsylvania.
“Gun violence may appear in different forms in different communities; some places may see on-street shootings while others have a high number of suicides by gun. It’s still gun violence, and we need to address it because, ultimately, all types of gun violence result in devastation on families and communities.”
The requested funds would be in the form of Community Gun Violence Prevention and Reduction grants, he said in his statement. The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) administers the grants, which are allocated to municipalities, who in turn devise their own programs based on their needs.
So far, he confirmed, PCCD has distributed $3 million throughout the state to large cities such as Philadelphia and Erie, to smaller municipalities such as Allentown and McKeesport. The programs established through the grants on ongoing using traditional funding.
Grants this year will be offered to programs that plan to use evidenced-based strategies, consider public health and public safety, and engage with public- and/or private-sector partners, he said. Issues to be addressed include preventing suicides and domestic violence by guns, fighting mass shootings, and improving gun safety and reducing or eliminating accidental shootings.
Guns kill more Pennsylvanians annually than car accidents, Wolfe said, and according to the Everytown research organization, around 1,500 people in the state lose their lives to gun violence in an average year.