West Philly Local: A multi-billion dollar plan to fight gun violence announced in Philadelphia

Congressman Dwight Evans, who represents Pennsylvania’s 3rd Congressional District that includes West Philadelphia, has announced a more than $51 billion, seven-point plan to fight gun violence in Philadelphia and around the country. The plan was unveiled today at Temple University Hospital, which treats many of the city’s gun violence victims.

“Over the last two years, Philadelphia and communities across America have suffered from a surge in gun violence – a second epidemic,” Evans said at today’s event. “This is a national problem – it is not just happening here… This epidemic of gun violence demands an all-hands response – federal, state and local government – and more community involvement.”

The plan contains seven key recommendations:

– Encourage use of evidence-based strategies by local law enforcement agencies.

– Invest $1 billion in federal funding in local police departments to increase clearance levels for fatal and non-fatal shootings. This would be done through the VICTIM Act that Evans is co-leading with Congresswoman Val Demings, the former police chief of Orlando, Fla.;

– Invest $40 billion in employment and workforce development agencies and organizations, such such as summer youth jobs programs and employment assistance for adults;

– Invest $5 billion in community-based violence intervention initiatives, such as the House-passed Build Back Better Act;

– Increase resources for the federal agencies that can work together to reduce gun violence – the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the U.S. Marshals Service.

– Invest $5 billion to reduce blight and improve city environments through such initiatives as greening vacant lots, increasing the number of streetlights, and providing a grant program for low-income homeowners to make housing repairs;

– Increase coordination and collaboration of federal, state, and local agencies and organizations.

To develop the plan, Evans and his staff spent several months holding roundtable discussions with victim advocates, academic researchers, local youth outreach groups, and local organizations and elected officials.