HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Gun violence has consumed Philadelphia, and state lawmakers have largely ignored it, blaming the local district attorney. On August 8, young Philadelphians came to Harrisburg with homemade signs and a plea for help.
People of all ages went to Harrisburg to protest for gun safety. Seventeen-year-old Emily said, “Shots were fired outside of my school,” and 13-year-old Eleanor Koepke-Heisler said, “I’ve lost over ten people to gun violence sin Philly over the past five years.”
Dozens of other young people from Philadelphia were also at the capitol with similar experiences and stories, carrying signs with grim statistics and rallying for change.
Danay McNeill from Community Rising said, “There have been 308 homicides in Philadelphia in the time I’m writing this, and by the time you’re hearing this there have been 333.”
Protesters want lawmakers to make it more difficult to possess guns as well as additional money for anti-violence programs.
“The state needs to start taking better background checks. Why does my phone have more security than a gun?,” Koepke-Heisler asked.
Representative Andrew Lewis (R-Dauphin County) said “Criminals are already not following laws, so adding more laws is not gonna stop the crime.”
Representatives like Lewis blame Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner for what they call a dereliction of his duty and being lenient against gun crimes.
“The answer is not so much as point a finger in the direction of law abiding gun owners and say, ‘Well let’s take away more of their freedoms.’ The solution is enforcing the laws on the books and holding criminals accountable,” Lewis added.
Philadelphia Democrat Darisha Parker says there is more that can and should be done without harming the second amendment. “I just need people on the other side of the aisle to give a damn,” said Parker.