In April, 4-year-old Tahirah Phillips was shot and killed by her mother's boyfriend as he was playing with his gun. In June, another 4-year-old, Sani Holmes, fatally shot herself while playing with a gun she found in her home.
In five weeks this summer, four children were wounded in shootouts in their neighborhoods. One child's little body took 10 bullets. A 12-year old girl was shot twice in the thigh for the crime of walking to the local store for chips and juice on a summer's night.
Children are the most innocent victims of Philadelphia's raging gun violence, but they are not alone. So far this year, at least 219 people have been killed by gunfire; their deaths tearing apart families and communities. Guns are used in more than 80 percent of Philadelphia's homicides.
The city has struggled to protect citizens trapped in neighborhoods where the sound of gunshots are as routine as the sound of lawn mowers in the suburbs. Philadelphia has tried to outlaw assault weapons and has asked gun owners to report lost and stolen guns to aid in homicide investigations. But each time the city has been rebuffed by Harrisburg.
In fact, the National Rifle Association's legislative drones once again are trying to bully any community that would dare stand up to gun violence by passing local ordinances that are stronger than the state's gun laws.
Rep. Mark Keller (R., Perry) sneaked a bill through the legislature in 2014 that would protect and enrich the NRA by tacking it on to legislation concerning the disposal of scrap metal. But not even Pennsylvania's troubled courts would stand for Keller's legerdemain and struck it down.
Now, however, like a shotgun-toting Terminator, Keller is back with another odious bill that has already cleared the House Judiciary Committee. The legislation would allow the NRA to sue towns for passing gun ordinances tougher than state gun laws and force the towns to pay the NRA's legal fees if they lose.
When Keller's original bill was passed in 2014 some communities folded immediately at the threat of being sued and withdrew ordinances that simply asked owners to report lost or stolen guns. But that step is needed to separate responsible gun owners from straw buyers who purchase guns for criminals who use them in crimes.
They won't admit it, but Keller and the NRA are essentially protecting criminals with their misguided legislation. They are protecting people who skirt the law by buying guns for felons who are forbidden from purchasing weapons.
In praising Keller for his slavish loyalty, the NRA said: "Gun owners continue to be unduly burdened by local ordinances which violate the current state firearm preemption law."
It's Pennsylvanians who are "unduly burdened" by gun violence and its aftermath - medical bills, funerals, and the demoralizinging sorrow of people across the state who have lost loved ones to gun violence.
It's Keller's bill that should die. If the legislature won't end its life, Gov. Wolf should with his veto.