EAST NORRITON, August 24, 2022 – State Senator Katie Muth (D- Berks/Chester/Montgomery), chair of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, hosted a public hearing in Montgomery County on the secondary impacts and consequences of gun violence in Pennsylvania along with co-hosts Senator Amanda Cappelletti (D-Montgomery/Delaware), Senator John Kane (D-Chester/Delaware) and Senator Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia).
“Gun violence is such a pervasive public health crisis in our country – and it will only continue to get worse and impact more families and more communities across our Commonwealth if nothing changes,” Muth said. “As we heard today, the secondary impacts and consequences of gun violence incidents are plaguing communities, families, health care providers, emergency responders, and others who work in human services professions. We must work together to break this perpetual cycle of violence, mourning, and harm – otherwise, the physical, emotional, and financial impacts will continue to devastate Pennsylvania communities across the state. Those in power in all levels of government need to work with stakeholders to develop a collaborative plan that focuses on prevention, wrap-around services for direct and secondary impacted individuals, increasing standards related to firearm safety, and holding perpetrators accountable.”
The public hearing was held earlier today at Einstein Medical Center and featured three panels of expert testimony from medical professionals, community advocates, law enforcement and first responders who discussed the impacts that gun violence has on the medical community, judicial system, students and emergency responders.
“Gun violence is a serious public health epidemic that affects all aspects of our everyday lives. Our inaction on gun violence prevention legislation continues to fail our communities and the first responders and frontline workers who protect us,” Cappelletti said. “We must do better to prevent gun violence and provide better support for everyone affected by it across the Commonwealth.”
According to statistics, there have been 1,226 nonfatal and 321 fatal shooting victims in the City of Philadelphia so far this year. Testimony throughout the hearing focused on the impacts beyond those victims and strategies that could start to reduce gun violence in Pennsylvania neighborhoods.
“We have seen that the mental burden that our youth and adults alike must face to deal with the effects of gun violence are astonishing. In areas such as the City of Chester which is in the 9th Senatorial District that I represent, we have all seen firsthand what gunshots and gun violence can do to a city. Businesses who’ve invested into this community have closed their doors. Jobs begin to disappear relinquishing opportunity to rebuild a struggling economy, and in our schools, students begin to disengage with the curriculum because the fears they face in their neighborhood don’t end once the school bell rings,” Kane added. “We have children and adults, unknowingly living with PTSD, making it almost impossible to treat. Every aspect of life looks and feels different as a result of gun violence, and this hearing was a huge step in making sure we take action that will release our communities from these realities.”
“A bullet’s impact is measured in the lives it transforms. The fallout from a shooting is incalculable: Loss of life, grief, the physical, psychological and emotional trauma cannot truly be measured. But we must work collectively to mitigate them as best we can as we continue to move toward creating safer communities for all,” Street said. “I’m honored to have convened a hearing with my colleagues on the secondary impacts of gun violence.”
Participants in the hearing included Dr. Merle Carter, Executive Vice-Chair of Emergency Medicine, Albert Einstein Healthcare Network; Jack Stollsteimer, Delaware County District Attorney; Alexis Clarke, Executive Director, Chester Community Coalition; Dr. Leah Brogan, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Center for Violence Prevention, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; and Al Davey, Executive Director, Narberth Ambulance.
“Gun violence causes a ripple effect of devastation in our communities,” Senator Anthony Williams added. “Not only does gun violence tragically and senselessly result in loss of life or serious injury for the victim, but it leaves families grappling with trauma and grief, it leaves communities scared and unsure about the safety and future of their neighborhood, and it introduces a particular feeling of hopelessness and anger, especially for young people who are just starting to figure the world out. The impact of gun violence is felt long after an incident, making this public health crisis even more urgent. Any effort to stop gun violence helps save lives today, and it also protects the mental health and stability of future generations.”
Full video and submitted written testimony from today’s hearing is available at SenatorMuth.com/Policy.
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Panel 1: Professional Impacts
- Dr. Merle Carter, Executive Vice-Chair of Emergency Medicine, Albert Einstein Healthcare Network
- Jack Stollsteimer, Delaware County District Attorney
- Alexia Clarke, Executive Director, Chester Community Coalition
Panel 2: Health Impacts
- Leah Brogan, PhD, Licensed Clinical Psychologist (PA), Violence Intervention Program, Center for Violence Prevention, CHOP
Panel 3: Impacts to First Responders