Help may soon be on the way to temporarily close a problem nightclub or bar before it's too late.

State Rep. Michael O'Brien, D-Phila., introduced a bill in April that would give State Police the authority to suspend a liquor license for violations including the sale of liquor to minors and after-hours sales, or if there is a direct homicide link to the licensed premises. The bill is being reviewed by the state House Liquor Control Committee.

"I think this was a very avoidable tragedy," O'Brien said of the nine people shot outside the troubled Felton Supper Club on Sunday morning. "The intent [of the bill] was not to be punitive. . . . The intent is to be proactive, see a potential problem and stop it along the way."

The Feltonville club had a history of violence, including a shooting on the dance floor in December, followed by a murder outside that stemmed from an argument inside the club on Jan. 1.

State Police Sgt. Bill LaTorre said that if O'Brien's bill were already law, "we could have taken action to suspend the license immediately."

"There's nothing in place to prevent the club from opening," LaTorre said of current law.

- Jan Ransom