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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: May 17, 2021 11:05 AM
From: Senator Art Haywood
To: All Senate members
Subject: Gun Violence Awareness Month - June 2021
In the near future, I will introduce a resolution recognizing June 2021 as “Gun Violence Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania.

This June, I ask us all to shine a light on gun violence as a major public safety and public health issue in our communities. On average, we lose over 100 Americans to gun violence every day, and over 200 Americans are wounded. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania experienced the 6th highest number of gun deaths in the country in 2019. Worse, gun violence has increased as a consequence of the pandemic. In Philadelphia alone, 499 people were killed in 2020 as a result of gun violence, which was a 40% increase over the prior year. Now, the city is on track to exceed 600 shooting deaths by the end of 2021. With every passing day, our Commonwealth continues to suffer unrelenting grief and trauma as gun violence senselessly claims the lives of our neighbors, friends and family members.

The facts are clear – gun violence inflicts harm and heartbreak in both rural and urban communities.  More than 60% of Americans killed with a gun die by suicide. Self-injury by firearm is uniquely tragic; suicide attempts by firearm end fatally 91% of the time, higher than all other methods. Americans are also twenty-five times more likely to die as a result of gun violence than citizens from all other industrialized nations. In 2019 alone, 1,541 Pennsylvanians died from homicides, suicides, and accidental discharges. In addition, the Center for American Progress has found that women who are victims of domestic violence from urban, rural and suburban communities all are at greater risk of serious injury when guns are readily accessible to their abusers. 

Gun violence is real, and we must do better to facilitate discussions between citizens and community leaders on how to make our neighborhoods safer for our children and all of our citizens.  Increased awareness of this vexing epidemic will allow us to start a constructive conversation on addressing it, prevent needless harm and injury, and make Pennsylvania a safer, more prosperous land for everyone.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this resolution.

Introduced as SR124