Want to share this newsletter? Here's the link!

Weekly Brief on Gun Violence Prevention in Philadelphia

May 24, 2023

Each week we share news from our Center plus local updates on gun violence and prevention from our partners at Billy Penn.

Expert among experts

Above: Oronde speaks during our recent Credible Messenger Link-Up & Info Session.

Our Credible Messenger Newsroom Liaison and gun violence survivor Oronde McClain just returned from San Francisco, where he was invited to address the 2023 Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association on a panel titled: “The Intersection of Gun Violence, Race, and Mental Health in the US: An Overview of the Problem and Strategies for Harm Reduction for Psychiatrists.” The APA has more than 38,000 members and calls this the premier psychiatry event of the year. Organizers spotted Oronde last summer when they attended an event he organized to premiere “They Don’t Care About Us,” a short documentary he produced while participating in our Credible Messenger Reporting Project.

Local updates from Billy Penn

• The Pa. House this week passed two gun bills: expanded background checks and a "red flag" law that makes seizures easier. They'll face a tougher battle in the Senate. House members also rejected — by one vote — a bill to require gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms within three days. [AP/PhillyVoice]

• With a gala at the Linc tonight, Mothers In Charge celebrates a bittersweet anniversary: 20 years of violence prevention, education, and intervention work. The organization now serves over 500 families and youth, with multiple chapters nationwide. [MIC/Inquirer$]

• A new program out of the city's behavioral health department called the Conscious Queens Wellness Workshop helps girls and teens of color process the trauma of living with gun violence. [DBHIDS/KYW]  

By the numbers in Philadelphia

  • 35: Shooting victims recorded last week, vs. 37 the week prior. [City Controller via @PCGVR]

  • 684: Shooting victims this year so far, down 17.9% vs. this time last year. [PCGVR]

  • 162: Year-to-date homicides, down 13% vs. last year's pace; up 40% vs. five years ago [Philly Police]

Redefining mass shootings

Above: Dr. Beard discussed mass shootings on the CBS Evening News last summer.

Last week: Our Director of Research Dr. Jessica Beard discussed “Why Some Mass Shootings — And Their Victims — Go Uncounted.” [Undark]

Don’t miss the deadline

All four new Emerging Leader Fellowships with the Stoneleigh Foundation will focus on Addressing Philadelphia’s Gun Violence Epidemic. Apply by June 2 to work with us on Centering the Voices of Firearm Survivors in Media. []

Imagining a new kind of championship

Above: Hundreds of thousands gathered for the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl victory parade in 2018.

What if everyone in Philadelphia could get behind violence prevention the way we get behind our sports team? This is the third of three guest commentaries by gun violence survivor and activist LuQman Abdullah. Philadelphia Citizen Director of Special Projects Jessica Blatt Press was the professional partner in this collaboration supported by our Credible Messenger Reporting Project. [The Philadelphia Citizen/PCGVR]

Role of the media


"It’s hard to run a nonprofit — especially when you’re dealing with an issue that has been hundreds of years in the making... However, when communities come together with the funding and the flexibility to address our issues for ourselves, we can have impact beyond the numbers, by saving one life at a time." - Solomon Jones [via The Philadelphia Inquirer]

Election reflections

Ballot question

Philadelphia voters approved a ballot measure to create a government office to oversee Philadelphia's public safety efforts. [Philly Voice]

Local authority

Montgomery County will inspect local gun stores, the first in the state to do so. [The Philadelphia Inquirer]

Faith leaders

  • Interfaith gun violence rally uses lawmaker letter campaign to demand more than just thoughts and prayers. [WHYY]

  • National Council of Churches Governing Board Passes Resolution on Gun Violence, Endorses Assault Weapons Ban. []


Black victims and their families are disproportionately denied compensation in many states, often for subjective reasons that experts say are rooted in racial biases. [The Associated Press]

On the record

“There’s no reason why, in 2023, our gun laws should be tied to a time where women or people of color were not part of the legislatures—they weren’t even considered people.” - Kelly Sampson, senior counsel and director of racial justice at The Brady Center [via The Wesleyan Connection]


Alcohol plays an outsize role in firearm fatalities. An estimated one in three individuals who committed homicide with a firearm had been heavily drinking when they murdered their victims. More than 30 percent of gun homicide victims had been heavily drinking when they were killed, and a quarter of gun suicide victims had been heavily drinking before dying by suicide. [Center for Gun Violence Solutions at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public]


  • Six in ten Americans, including four in ten who own guns say it is more important to control gun violence than to protect gun rights. [NPR/PBS/Marist Poll]

  • Access to guns tops the list among Black Americans (49% cite this as their #1 concern), Democrats (50%), and those living in urban areas (31%). [Ipsos]


At least 17 states, most of them led by Republicans, introduced bills this year trying to make it easier to buy, own and carry weapons, providing guns to teachers and declaring themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries. [FiveThirtyEight]

In memoriam

“When Henry was home, or anywhere, he loved to eat, and soul food was his favorite. He enjoyed playing basketball with his friends and watching football, but nothing was more important to him than his family.” - HENRY PETERSON JR., 26, TRUCK DRIVER AND ‘A REAL FAMILY MAN’ [Philadelphia Obituary Project]

Powered by you

Our team has in-person presentations coming up at gatherings of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and the International Communications Association. So far this year we have visited in-person or virtually with the American Psychiatric Association, the University of Colorado, the Full Frame Initiative, The Law & Justice Journalism Project, NBC Philadelphia, the New York Amsterdam News, Ohio State University, Power 99, Report for America, The Stoneleigh Foundation, Swarthmore College, Temple University, The Trace, WDAS and WURD Radio. Please help us keep it up:

Support The Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting