Citizens in Southwest Philadelphia Help 'Groceries for Guns' Reach 1,066 Firearms

Fattah, Reynolds Brown Initiative Gets Firearms Off the Streets

Apr 28, 2007, 01:00 ET from Congressman Chaka Fattah

    PHILADELPHIA, April 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The popular
 "Groceries for Guns" initiative organized by Congressman Chaka Fattah and
 Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown today received its 1,000th firearm --
 and kept on going.
     The exchange reached the milestone of 1,000 firearms off the streets
 early this afternoon at Francis Myers Recreation Center, 58th Street and
 Kingsessing Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia, the city's homicide hotspot.
 The final totals: 260 firearms turned in today, 1,066 handed over during
 the year's five exchanges.
     "Citywide we have taken more than 1,000 lethal weapons off the streets,
 out of homes and removed from harm's way," said Congressman Fattah, who
 created the program as part of Gun Safe Philadelphia. "These are handguns,
 long guns, sawed-off shotguns, the kind of firearms that have been used in
 homicides and shootings," Fattah said. "Today we are reducing the number of
 guns in Southwest Philadelphia by 260 firearms."
     Councilwoman Reynolds Brown, who has cosponsored each of the five
 initiatives, said, "'Groceries for Guns' is a positive way for our citizens
 to join in efforts to make sure these lethal weapons will no longer pose
 any kind of a threat. I am pleased to be the partner with Congressman
 Fattah, many fine community organizations and hundreds of Philadelphians in
 this initiative."
     City Councilman Juan Ramos also joined in support of the April 28
     "Groceries for Guns" offers to exchange $200 in grocery tokens for any
 firearm turned in to police, no questions asked, with a limit of $400 in
 tokens for two or more firearms. Previous exchanges, dating from January,
 brought in 806 firearms from North Philadelphia, West Philadelphia,
 Germantown and West Oak Lane sites.
     In each exchange, Philadelphia police have accepted and disarmed each
 weapon for eventual destruction.
     The 12th Police District, which includes Myers Rec Center, recorded 32
 homicides in 2006 -- more than any other police district in Philadelphia.
     "Southwest Philadelphia, unfortunately, has the highest homicide total
 for any section of Philadelphia. We believe there are hundreds of unwanted,
 dangerous handguns and other firearms that the citizens of the Southwest
 want to remove from their homes and get out of harm's way," Fattah said.
 "This won't end gun violence in the Southwest, unfortunately. But
 'Groceries for Guns' will be helpful."
     Fattah continued, "We're bringing in mostly handguns, the weapon most
 often used against another human being. These firearms are being removed
 from people's homes, in exchange for grocery vouchers, so they can no
 longer be burglarized or otherwise taken out into the streets as
 instruments of crime."
     "Groceries for Guns," sponsored by Congressman Fattah with Councilwoman
 Reynolds Brown, has drawn participation of numerous cosponsors. They have
 included Men United for a Better Philadelphia, Mothers in Charge, People
 for People Inc., plus Radio One and its three FM stations, The Fresh Grocer
 and Acme.
     Contact: Ron Goldwyn 215-387-6404 or 215-913-0972

SOURCE Congressman Chaka Fattah