Ramsey Not Confident Tragedy Will Lead To More Gun Control - KMSP-TV

Ramsey Not Confident Tragedy Will Lead To More Gun Control

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Philadelphia is no stranger to gun violence. The "City of Brotherly Love" has one of the highest murder rates in the country.

City leaders and law enforcement officials have been pushing for tougher gun laws.

Several of those leaders are taking part in a two-day gun violence summit starting Wednesday morning at Saint Joseph's University.

The summit – scheduled well in advance of Friday's school shooting tragedy in Newtown, Conn. – will feature roundtable discussions aimed at making Philadelphia safer.

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, District Attorney Seth Williams and state Sen. Stewart Greenleaf are among those expected to attend along with City Councilman Curtis Jones, who planned the event months ago.

Outside police headquarters on Wednesday morning. FOX 29's Steve Keeley caught up with Ramsey, who is the first speaker at that summit, to get a preview of his remarks.

The interview came a short while before Ramsey received word that he will be a member of President Barack Obama's gun violence panel in the aftermath of the Newtown tragedy.

An official announcement is expected when the president speaks at 11:45 a.m.

Ramsey -- who is also a former police chief in Washington, D.C. -- said he expects to meet with Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday and then the full panel on Friday.

Asked for his thoughts on gun violence Wednesday morning, Ramsey said, "Obviously, it's much broader than just a local issue. I mean, the problem with crime, gun violence in particular now, touches everyone across the country. It is the focus of a lot of discussion now because of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn."

"However, this is something that in urban areas we experience on a regular basis, not all at once like 20 children," Ramsey said. "But, you know, when you stop and think about it, we've had 23 killed this year under the age of 18. I mean, when is it going to stop?"

Is he confident that this mass shooting is so different that all of this immediate debate and push for new gun legislation will get firm results and not be forgotten, like it has been after all of the other shootings?

"Am I confident? No, I'm not, because I've seen this happen too many times," the police commissioner answered. "In the midst of tragedy, everyone is making comments, they're crying, they're praying, they're doing all kinds of things. But then, a month later, it's back to business as usual."

Ramsey added, "I hope this is different. I'd like to be optimistic. We'll see. But, you know, let's see if they're still having this conversation in February or March. That's the key. And, unfortunately, once everything is over in Newtown, you know, we go right back to doing the same things we did before, which is pretty much nothing."

Meanwhile, religious leaders in Philadelphia say they are fed up with gun violence. They are planning a rally today to encourage people to take action against gun violence.

The rally is scheduled for noon at Pennsylvania Hall. That's on North Sixth Street, between Race and Arch streets.

Across the river in New Jersey, more than 1,000 guns are now off the streets. That's after the state attorney general's office teamed up with officials in Camden County for what they say is the most successful gun buy-back in the state's history.

People could turn in weapons, no questions asked, and receive up to $250.

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