At a recent meeting of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, Rep. Wheatley spoke out against gun violence, saying “Senseless shootings like the ones encountered in the Hill District have become the norm in far too many communities. It’s not just about guns, but it’s more about poverty and the unmet needs of traumatized people.”
In 2016 alone, there were more than 10,000 incidents involving firearms across Pennsylvania. While one Pennsylvanian is murdered with a gun every 17 hours, communities of color are disproportionately impacted. African Americans and Hispanics represent nearly 79 percent of all gun homicides in Pennsylvania.
From 2005 to 2014, Pennsylvania ranked fourth in the nation for the rate of gun homicides of African Americans. Although African Americans make up about 12 percent of Pennsylvania’s population, they account for more than 69 percent of gun homicides in the commonwealth.
Moreover, Hispanics in Pennsylvania ranked second in the nation for the highest gun homicide rate of Hispanics, second only to Arizona.
Gun violence in Pennsylvania is a public health crisis and an epidemic, particularly for communities of color. It’s past time we start raising the level of attention on this tragic issue and demand more action.