Harrisburg, PA (STL.News) One year after its first convening following the signing of Executive Order 2019-06, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) reconvened the Special Council on Gun Violence today to discuss state agencies’ progress in implementing recommendations from its Report of Findings, Recommendations, and Action Steps adopted in March 2020, and to hear from communities working to address gun violence.
“The world has changed considerably since I signed an executive order last August to work to aggressively combat gun violence in our state,” Gov. Wolf said. “Civil unrest and a global pandemic have added to the stress and devastation among too many Pennsylvania communities. Now more than ever, we need to address gun violence in all of its forms. Thank you for the work the Special Council has undertaken amid difficult circumstances. Your dedication is noticed and appreciated.”
“Over the last several months, we’ve seen the epidemic of gun violence continue to plague communities amidst a global pandemic,” said Mike Pennington, executive director of PCCD. “Today’s meeting was a reminder that our work to address this public health and public safety crisis remains more vital than ever.”
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), firearm-related injuries are among the leading causes of injury-related deaths for adults and the leading cause of injury-related death among children and teens in Pennsylvania. More than 1,650 people died in Pennsylvania from gunshot wounds in 2018, a rate above the national average.
As shown in data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s recently published Violence Data Dashboard, the vast majority of these firearm-related fatalities – 62% – were suicides, and firearms were used in about half of the commonwealth’s more than 2,000 suicide deaths in 2018.
To address the growing rates of suicide – including suicide by firearms – the Wolf Administration released Pennsylvania’s Statewide Suicide Prevention Plan, developed by the state’s Suicide Prevention Task Force.
The Wolf Administration also recently announced the availability of $7.5 million in funding to support the 2021 Community Violence Prevention/Reduction Grant Program. Under this competitive solicitation, priority consideration will go to evidence-based or evidence-informed programs that address gun violence and gang violence in areas of Pennsylvania identified with high-violent crime rates. Eligible applicants (municipalities, counties, institutions of higher education, and community-based organizations) have until Tuesday, November 10, 2020, to submit applications to PCCD, with awards expected to be announced in January 2021.