Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and the governors of three other regional states announced a new agreement to share crime gun data, a move they say will help stem gun violence in their states.
Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) the governors signed, law enforcement agencies in the four states will share crime gun data. Their goal is to identify and arrest straw purchasers, dealers, traffickers and others.
“If we want to reduce this scourge of gun violence, we have got to work together in ways that we have not before,” Wolf said during a Thursday virtual meeting. “We’ve got to work with our partners within our states, in our communities, but also with each other, and I think this could be a very powerful and innovative way to approach this issue.
“… We know that gun violence and homicide rates have risen over the past year,” Wolf added. “… The pandemic has certainly had an influence, at least in Pennsylvania. While it was necessary to stay apart to fight that pandemic, the isolation that many experienced, at least this is our experience in Pennsylvania, also stripped away support networks and safety nets. At the same time it caused increasing stress, anxiety, fear and, clearly, anger.”
Violent crime nationwide has surged amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Nationally, according to the FBI, violent crime in 2020 increased 5.6% from 2019, while murders and nonnegligent manslaughters increased 29.4%.
According to Pennsylvania State Police data, gun homicides statewide increased by 48% in 2020 compared to 2019, Wolf said. In Philadelphia, fatal and nonfatal shootings also increased by nearly 48% in 2020 compared to 2019, the governor added.
The agreement the four Democratic governors signed remains in effect for five years and automatically renews annually. However, states may terminate the accord at any time with 30 days’ written notice.
“Working together, our states’ law enforcement agencies can collaboratively share critical gun crime data and directly confront the threat of gun violence and criminal activity,” Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said in an announcement.
This article was originally posted on Pennsylvania to share gun data with three other states under agreement