Aiming to reduce gun violence, local, state, and federal officials are creating a “gun court” in Philadelphia, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Some $525,000 in state money will be used to establish the court. The city reported 327 homicides last year. Eight out of 10 involved handguns.
Gun courts have been established in New York, Rhode Island, and a few other states. Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson said, “If the gun court takes the issue of guns seriously, I don’t see how it can’t help.” The court will hear cases of people charged with carrying a firearm without a license; carrying a gun on a public street or in a public place; and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. About 400 such cases were heard in Common Pleas Court last year. Cases involving the use of firearms in the commission of more serious crimes, such as robbery and murder, would not be heard in gun court.