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Activists pursue limits on sales of handguns

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

In recent months, community groups and elected officials concerned about gun-related violence in Philadelphia and its effect on school children have been taking aim at gun trafficking in Pennsylvania.

Community and antiviolence groups in April participated in a motorcade and walking procession that concluded at Colosimo’s Gun Shop, at 9th and Spring Garden streets, which data show is the leading seller of guns recovered from Philadelphia crime scenes.

Sponsored by the Philadelphia Area Interfaith Peace Network, the event included participants from CeaseFire PA, Mothers in Charge and the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP.

Antiviolence activists contend the city remains a hot market for gun-selling, drawing buyers from New York and New Jersey.

Groups like Eastern Pennsylvania Organizing Project (EPOP) have been trying to amass support from the region’s clergy for legislation that would limit handgun purchases in Pennsylvania to one per month.

Pennsylvania State Rep. John Myers (D-Phila.) has introduced such legislation in Harrisburg.

Meanwhile, EPOP leader Fran McFadden said organizers have been meeting with local elected officials to encourage the city to pursue additional federal funding for the police presence around schools.

She said the city had been particularly hard-hit by the inability to fill vacant positions that must be held for about 100 local police officers on active military duty.

“Homeland security starts at home,” McFadden offered. “The safety of our children is at stake.”

Contact EPOP at 215-634-8922.

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