Wolf plans executive order on gun violence, as Philadelphia reels from shooting | Thursday Morning Coffee

August 15, 2019 7:23 am

Good morning, fellow seekers.

John is taking a well-deserved vacation, which means it’s up to me — Associate Editor Sarah Anne Hughes — to get your morning going with an abbreviated version of the Coffee.

Don’t worry: He’ll be back Tuesday.

On Wednesday, a man in a North Philadelphia neighborhood opened fire on police attempting to serve a warrant, WHYY and Billy Penn report. Six officers were shot; all have been released from local hospitals.

The incident provided a grim backdrop to the announcement Wednesday that Gov. Tom Wolf will sign a “sweeping” executive order “to better target the public health crisis of gun violence.”

“We simply are not doing enough to stop people from dying and to give communities the peace of mind that they deserve,” Wolf said in a statement. “This order will make sure the executive branch is doing more and focusing on gun violence as both a public safety problem and public health crisis.”

In a release, Wolf’s office said the initiatives and reforms will include:

  • “New oversight and data sharing
  • “Reducing community gun violence
  • “Combating mass shootings
  • “Addressing the rising number of gun-related domestic incidents and self-inflicted shootings, including suicides by gun”

Wolf also renewed his call for the Legislature to pass universal background checks and a red flag law that would allow courts to temporarily seize firearms from a person deemed a risk to himself or others.

Democratic lawmakers from Philadelphia reacted to the shooting with calls for action.

“There are far too many guns on our streets,” Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, vice chair of the House’s Philly delegation, said in a statement, “and today’s incident is one more sober reminder of it.”

Late Wednesday night, Wolf’s office announced it was postponing Thursday’s planned signing.

“Tonight is another reminder of the selfless sacrifice of our law enforcement officers and first responders. We are praying for a peaceful resolution and the full recovery of all those injured,” Wolf said in a statement. “We must remain committed to combatting violence and getting dangerous weapons out of our communities.”

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Gov. Tom Wolf will rally in favor of the Affordable Care Act with U.S. Sen. Bob Casey at the Capitol.

What Goes On
Rep. Liz Hanbidge will lead a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on “reducing home and community-based services waiver waitlist” in Lansdale.

Heavy Rotation
Since the death of the great poet and lyricist David Berman last week, I’ve been listening to Silver Jews’ albums non-stop. For the uninitiated, here’s “People” from 1998’s “American Water.”

And now you’re up to date.

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Sarah Anne Hughes
Sarah Anne Hughes

Associate Editor Sarah Anne Hughes covers the governor and Pennsylvania's agencies. Before joining the Capital-Star, she was the state capitol reporter for Billy Penn and The Incline, and a 2018 corps member for Report for America. She was previously managing editor of Washington City Paper, editor-in-chief of DCist, and a national blogger for The Washington Post.