This weekend, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and other prominent city officials joined a growing group of national voices advocating strengthened gun control laws in the U.S. after 12 people were killed during the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, CO.
“While the attention of the American people is focused on Aurora and the irrational acts of an armed assailant, I am appalled by the pervasive problem of gun violence in our malls and parks and on the streets of our cities and towns,” Nutter said in a statement released Friday.
“This truly sad moment should be an occasion to strengthen gun safety laws, to call for national reform and to better ensure the safety of the public.”
Echoing Nutter’s calls for gun control reform was Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. During an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week,” Ramsey noted the obvious need for a national conversation on reform, but said it was unlikely one would arise.
“Aurora, Columbine, Virginia Tech, Ft. Hood, the list goes on and on,” Ramsey said.
“Unfortunately, in my opinion, the answer is absolutely nothing (will change). There will be a lot of talk, a lot of debate, but this will fade into the background like the other incidents that have occurred. People will continue to get their hands on guns.”
Ramsey also recommended a ban on assault weapons in the U.S., a provision originally contained within Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. The act expired in 2004 and initiatives to renew it have not reached the floor for a vote.
Ramsey’s and Nutter’s comments come after Philadelphia once again found itself inundated with gun violence over the last year. In fact, during a single week last April, the city reported 144 crimes involving firearms.
Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell joined Nutter and Ramsey by labeling the National Rifle Association’s influence on Congress’s ability to pass gun control legislation as “an act of cowardice.”
“We’re terrified of the NRA. We Democrats are as bad as the Republicans. Everyone is scared of the NRA,” Rendell said Friday on MSNBC. “There are some things worth losing for in politics, and to be able to prevent carnage like this is worth losing for.”
State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) is arguably the strongest gun rights supporter in PA. In a Facebook post Monday, he said that communities are better off when responsible citizens own guns.
“The callous leftists who hope to disarm America are at it again since the Colorado murders,” he wrote.
“Our communities are safer when law abiding citizens are able to bear arms in defense of themselves, their family, their friends, their neighbors and their property. Our society would be better off if murderers were labeled as evil or wicked rather than crazy or mad.”