Gov. Ed Rendell says he is shocked by the spate of gun-related killings and violence that erupted in several cities around Pennsylvania in the first three months of this year, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rendell yesterday named a 21-member commission to address gun violence and wants a report no later than May 16 “with specific administrative, statutory and regulatory changes” aimed at getting guns out of the hands of youths, stopping trafficking in illegal guns and other measures to curb gun violence.
The violence has included 87 homicides in Philadelphia as of March 29, with 72 of the victims killed by guns. In the weekend of March 11 to 13 alone, 11 people died, nine by gunshot. Allegheny County has had 19 homicides this year, with 16 involving guns. The commission, which includes U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr., Pittsburgh Deputy Police Chief William Mullen and state Rep. Dan Frankel, will hold its first meeting today in Harrisburg.