Given the surge in shootings in Philadelphia, city leaders and police are asking people to turn in their guns this weekend — no questions asked.
“Get those guns, run that room, see what’s in there, find out what is being hidden in your house, take it out and turn it in,” City Councilmember Cindy Bass said Thursday at a news conference outside Police Headquarters.
“Community members who submit firearms will not be asked to produce identification,” Police Commissioner Danielle M. Outlaw said. “In addition, the submission of a firearm will not trigger an investigation of the person who relinquished it.”
As part of the “Home Gun-Check Campaign,” residents are asked to turn in guns from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Janes Memorial United Methodist Church, 47 E. Haines St., Germantown, or at Tasker Street Missionary Baptist Church, 2010 Tasker St., Point Breeze.
The Rev. Gregory Holston of Janes Memorial, who is a senior adviser on advocacy and policy at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and former executive director of the advocacy group POWER, said people can save lives by turning in a gun.
The number of homicides in the city in 2020 soared to 261 as of Thursday night. That’s a 29% increase from the same period last year and the highest number of killings in nearly three decades, when 275 homicides were recorded for the same period in 1991. Most homicides result from shootings.
City Council this week held two emergency virtual hearings on the city’s spike in gun violence as leaders tried to identify the reasons behind it and form strategies to combat it.
Separately on Thursday, U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain, the region’s top federal prosecutor, took the opportunity after a sentencing hearing to urge city leaders “to speak with one voice in condemning violence” and not treat violent defendants “like they are somehow the victims in all of this.”
Anyone with questions about the gun turn-in program can call the Father’s Day Rally Committee, which is sponsoring the event, at 215-667-9870.