"In Philadelphia, someone is murdered in our city every 28 hours," she said. "Eighty percent of those are due to guns, and we believe the bulk of those are due to illegally obtained guns."
Many firearms are acquired through "straw" purchasing, when a private citizen legally purchases a gun for the purpose of reselling it into the criminal market, said Bryan Miller, executive director of Heeding God's Call.
Miller said he hoped to raise awareness on this issue. "We're faith-based, and we believe it's not a political problem," he said. "This is a spiritual problem and a moral problem."
Following the prayer service, the group proceeded up Broad Street, carrying sticks adorned with T-shirts, each with a name of a gun victim. The event culminated at City Hall with a reading of all the names of the victims at Dilworth Plaza.
In its effort to stem the flow of illegally obtained firearms, the group urged city gun dealers to sign a code of conduct that prevents the illegal street sale of guns. It also implored Mayor Nutter and City Council to support a crackdown on "straw" purchasing.
Mark McDonald, Nutter's press secretary, said Nutter "strongly believes" in gun-safety laws and is "certainly aware" of straw purchasing. He said the mayor had advocated legislation such as the "one-gun-a-month" law to combat this illegal activity. However, he said, state laws and actions by appellate courts have made it difficult to put such statutes into effect.
Contact staff writer Quan Nguyen at 215-854-5626 or email@example.com.