April 24, 2015 |
When it comes to protecting Philadelphians from the most violent criminals, the mayoral contenders have a hard act to follow in Mayor Nutter and his top cop, Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey. The murder rate is down sharply, and all the city's violent crime has declined - as it has nationally. Also on Nutter's watch, the city has taken the lead in spurring efforts to stem the tide of illegal guns across Pennsylvania. While handguns - the weapons used to commit most murders - remain readily available in inner-city neighborhoods, the mayor, joined by City Council, ushered in new gun limits that were potent enough to spark a fierce and continuing legal battle with the National Rifle Association.
March 17, 2015 |
THE SPECTER of people openly toting guns several yards from a kids' jungle gym isn't something you see every day. But if Citizens for Liberty's Steve Piotrowski - and about 60 gun supporters who joined him yesterday for a rally at Bala Cynwyd Park - have anything to do with it, it might become a more common sight. "We're all here because we believe that real patriotism is a will to challenge the government when it is wrong. That's what we are doing here today," Piotrowski, 32, of Lower Providence, told the crowd.
March 11, 2015 |
Quahmier Wilson turned 10 years old Monday. Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey attended Quahmier's birthday party at Dave & Buster's, then somberly participated in a vigil for the boy's father, Officer Robert Wilson III, who was killed in the line of duty last week. "Obviously, he's struggling. He's struggling real hard," Ramsey said of Quahmier, the older of the officer's two sons. Wilson, an eight-year officer assigned to the 22d District, was visiting a GameStop store at 21st Street and Lehigh Avenue on Thursday afternoon to buy a video game to reward his son for good grades when two armed men attempted to rob the business, located in a shopping center called Hope Plaza.
January 5, 2015 |
When Philadelphia's murder total fell to a historic low in 2013, officials believed it was no fluke. Now, with 2014 at the same rate - and other violence also down - experts say the city is indeed getting safer. With 248 slain, the toll is one above last year's - and a 25 percent drop from 2012. But statistics show police in 2014 solved fewer killings than in 2013. Overall, violent crime fell 7 percent. The number of people who were shot but survived fell to 1,047 this year from 1,128 in 2013, down 7 percent.
December 17, 2014 |
WHATEVER REASON we eventually settle on for the latest deadly shooting spree, this time in Montgomery County yesterday - mental illness, easy access to guns, a world gone mad - we know one thing for sure: A gun shattered families, a community and our sense of safety. A gun. Again. Just hours after the second anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Conn., that left 26 people dead, including 20 children, and in the midst of a siege in Sydney, Australia, that eventually ended with three dead, including the assailant, another shooting spree unfolded closer to home.
November 20, 2014 |
You'll know Philadelphia CeaseFire's newest tool to combat gun violence when you see it. A converted 33-foot 1995 Winnebago branded with the words "Stop. Shooting. People. " doesn't exactly blend in. And that's the point. "This tool gives us a constant opportunity to show residents and those just driving by that we're really out here, on the streets, working toward a reduction in youth violence," said program director Marla Davis Bellamy. Bellamy spoke Tuesday outside Temple University's Student Faculty Center at 3300 N. Broad St., moments after the ribbon was cut on the mobile office by State Sen. Shirley Kitchen and Philadelphia City Council President Darrell L. Clarke.
November 12, 2014 |
THE CITIZENS up north in Potter County or in Greene County, about 300 miles west of Philadelphia, can usually count the number of annual homicides with one or two fingers. But any law-abiding citizen able to own a handgun there or anywhere else in Pennsylvania could file a lawsuit against Philadelphia, even if he's never been here, to challenge local firearms ordinances, thanks to a statute backed by the National Rifle Association that was signed into law by Gov. Corbett last week.
November 4, 2014 |
Under cover of night and in the final moments of the legislative session, lawmakers in Harrisburg robbed Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and other communities of a weapon in their fight against gun violence. The legislature approved a bill allowing the National Rifle Association and others to sue cities and towns over gun ordinances - and, even more outrageously, forcing local governments to cover their legal costs. The process was as questionable as the result. The provision was smuggled into an unrelated bill on metal theft, and at one point the Senate voted to bypass a good-government rule requiring it to end voting at 11 p.m. The law will hamper local efforts to deal with illegal guns in a state that does little to help cities beset by violence.
October 22, 2014 |
HARRISBURG - In the final minutes of the legislative session, the House on Monday approved a bill clearing the way for the National Rifle Association and other groups to sue local municipalities, among them Philadelphia, that enact ordinances stricter than state firearms laws. The bill, approved by a 138-56 vote, will grant legal standing to "membership organizations" to sue over local gun laws, and collect legal fees and other costs if they win. Mayor Nutter said Monday before the vote that he was "profoundly opposed" to the bill, which he said increases the vulnerability of municipalities trying to combat gun violence to lawsuits by pro-gun advocates.