Mayor Jim Kenney (D) held a press conference last night in which he called on legislators to strengthen gun control laws after an eight hour standoff between police and an active shooter in North Philadelphia.
The mayor expressed frustration and outrage at the excessive amount of weapons and ammunition the gunman seemed to possess.
“Our officers deserve to be protected and they don’t deserve to be shot at by a guy for hours with an unlimited supply of weapons and an unlimited supply of bullets. It’s disgusting and we have to do something about it,” the mayor told reporters.
The mayor chastised lawmakers for refusing to stand up to the National Rifle Association and its influence on gun control legislation on Capitol Hill. “Whether it’s our six officers who were shot or it’s some 16-, 17-, 20-year-old kid on the streets of Philadelphia who gets shot with guns that shouldn’t be in people’s hands,” Kenney stated. “It’s aggravating. It’s saddening. And it’s something that we need to do something about.”
The Senate has consistently rejected gun control bills that have been brought to the floor over the past several years. In the days following the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016 they rejected four pieces of legislation that would have tightened gun control laws by mandating background checks and refusing sales to buyers suspected of terrorism. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has successfully blocked gun control measures from reaching the 60 votes needed to become law after mass shootings in Parkland, Las Vegas, and Sandy Hook. The Philadelphia shooting comes just days after similar incidents in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.
“This government, both on federal and state level, don’t want to do anything about getting these guns off the streets and getting them out of the hands of criminals,” Mayor Kenney said to the press.
The shootout occurred when police attempted to serve a drug warrant, resulting in two police officers and several civilians being held hostage until the suspect surrendered early Thursday morning. The gunman injured six officers who were treated for their injuries and later released.
Sources: The Hill 8/15/19; Huffington Post 8/15/19; Feminist Newswire 6/22/16; Buzzfeed News 8/5/2019