William Aboaje Samir Crawford was ambushed on the streets of Philadelphia in 2018. He is one of the thousands of Pennsylvanians lost to community-based gun violence that disproportionately impacts Black neighborhoods and is concentrated in urban areas like Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Reading, and Pittsburgh.
We know that local laws could have saved his life – they were even on the books in Philadelphia. City Council passed ordinances requiring the reporting of lost and stolen guns and requiring permits to purchase firearms. But the rules couldn’t be enforced, because decades ago, the General Assembly said municipalities couldn’t pass any local gun safety laws. This is known as preemption, and it cost the lives of William and too many others.
While the General Assembly refuses to take statewide action to address gun violence, they also tie the hands of local officials through preemption. William’s father, Stanley, has since become a leading advocate for abolishing state preemption of local gun safety laws to empower communities to end gun violence.
This is Stanley’s story.