Sen. Vincent J. Fumo

District Office

1208 Tasker Street
Phila, PA 19148

Harrisburg Office

545 Main Capitol
Hbg, PA 17120



_____________________NEWS RELEASE

State Senator

1st Senatorial District
Room 545 Main Capitol, Harrisburg PA 17120
Internet Website:


PHONE: 717-787-5662 


     PHILADELPHIA, August 16, 2007 – A $5 million line item for a Philadelphia illegal gun task force appears in the Pennsylvania budget for a second consecutive year, state Sen. Vince Fumo said today.

     The appropriation was renewed under the Office of the Attorney General when the 2007-08 state budget was enacted last month. In the previous fiscal year, Fumo obtained the original $5 million of state funding to create a task force dedicated solely to attacking illegal guns in the Philadelphia area.

     Fumo joined Attorney General Tom Corbett, Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham, and Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson at a news conference today to announce the issuance of new arrest warrants based upon efforts of the task force.

     “I believe that over the long haul, one of our most effective strategies against gun violence is keep weapons out of the hands of criminals, and prosecute the dealers who supply them illegally,” said Fumo. “I commend General Corbett, District Attorney Abraham, and the Police Department for the work they have done so far. We are off to a good start.”

     Over the past year, Corbett, Abraham and the Police Department, used the initial round of state funding to establish the task force and gradually expand it throughout the city. It will begin working in the sixth and final police division this month.

     Since starting street operations in December, the task force has made 43 arrests, not counting the additional warrants announced today. The majority have involved straw purchases, along with several burglaries and resales of stolen guns.

     “This program is just getting off the ground, but it is already producing results. We need to keep up the pressure on the illegal dealers who are fueling our city’s murder rate. I want them to get the message – the police are not just going after the killers, but they are also going after the people who are giving the killers their tools,” Fumo said.

     Philadelphia has seen an escalating murder rate in the past several years – one reason Fumo was able to persuade the legislature to create a police/prosecution unit to concentrate exclusively on illegal guns in southeastern Pennsylvania.

     Given the historical difficulty of enacting gun control measures in the Pennsylvania legislature, Fumo has focused on targeted law-enforcement efforts as the most effective way to attack gun crime. Besides this recent funding plan, he was the main author of the 1995 revision to Pennsylvania’s gun statutes, establishing the state’s instant criminal background check system. That law subjects all gun transactions, including private sales between individuals, to state police approval. It thus gives law enforcement authorities another means of pursuing arrest and prosecution when dealers and purchasers evade the required background check procedures.

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