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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: March 16, 2023 09:02 AM
From: Representative Jason Dawkins
To: All House members
Subject: Keeping Illegal Firearm Offenders off the Streets of Philadelphia
The city of Philadelphia is in the midst of the worst gun violence epidemic in its history. Last year there were over 500 fatal shootings in Philadelphia. In the first few months of 2023, thre have already been over 80 fatal shootings, setting a course for yet another year of multiple fatal shootings almost daily.
One of the issues allowing this epidemic to continue to escalate is Philadelphia’s 10 percent deposit of bail for all crimes, even repeat gun crimes for repeat offenders, meaning that an individual who commits multiple gun crimes or is in possession of an illegal gun multiple times will still only pay a tenth of the full bail to gain release. Without a change from the Municipal Court of Philadelphia, this 10 percent bail amount will continue to allow repeat offenders, many of whom have already committed violent crimes with illegal firearms, back on the street to re-offend or possibly intimidate witnesses. This horrible cycle must stop. Our communities are crying out for an answer to this crisis. I will be introducing legislation specifically aimed at the city of Philadelphia to combat this issue.
My legislation would do the following:
  • It will add a new section under Chapter 57 (Bonds and Recognizances) in Title 42 only applying to the city of Philadelphia.
  • A first arrest for possession of an illegal firearm or a crime committed with an illegal firearm, 10 percent deposit of bail will be required. (The current standard)
  • A 2nd offense would require 50 percent deposit of bail.
  • A 3rd offense would require 100 percent deposit of bail.
  • Any additional arrests beyond the third would all require 100 percent deposit of bail.
This legislation will be applied retroactively.
It is imperative that we do all we can do stem the tide of gun deaths in Philadelphia. Every minute matters when lives are on the line. Let’s not waste any more time in this fight for our friends, our families and our communities.
Please join me in sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB831