Philadelphia City Council members, residents discuss solutions to gun violence

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Hundreds of Philadelphians showed up at a City Council committee hearing to discuss the issue of gun violence in Philadelphia.

As the violence continues to spike, City Council is trying to think outside the box to find solutions.

"The traditional way we've been doing things is not working," said Councilmember Curtis Jones.

Addressing Philadelphia's gun violence is one of City Council's top priorities as evidence by the number of members who showed up for a public safety committee hearing.

Three to four hundred people packed into the Christian Stronghold Baptist Church in West Philadelphia.

"Until death stopped by my door, I started to realize that death ain't no joke man," said Stanley Crawford.

Crawford lost his son, William, to gun violence. One of 351 killed in 2018 which led him to form the Black Male Community Council to address violence and try to stop conflicts before they begin.

"I'm not here but for one reason because I have a personal experience and a personal investment in stopping the murder and mayhem that we as citizens of Philadelphia have experienced," he told council members.

Groups like ManUpPhl are stepping into the lives of young men who statistically are most likely to be victims or perpetrators of gun violence.

"And to provide them with the mentoring, accountability, resources and consistency, they require to change their lives and make our communities safe," said Solomon Jones of the group.

But grassroots groups like these have been essentially fighting over crumbs when it comes to funding from government. As City Council prepares for budget hearings in the spring, members are looking at spending more on such groups.

"I want to continue the conversation because there's no one way to address this issue," said Councilman Derek Green.

"The solution to the gun violence is part of the puzzle that we have to put together," added Councilman Jones.

Council also recently voted unanimously to authorize a lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for what it called, "Its failure to take stronger action in the form of gun laws to protect citizens from gun violence."

City Council is now in legal strategy discussions with attorneys preparing that lawsuit.
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