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PHILADELPHIA — All around Pennsylvania, the common sight of the American flag at half-mast can be seen all over due to the recent and seemingly never-ending shooting incidents throughout the country.
A cry for action was heard inside the National Museum of American Jewish History Monday afternoon with multiple groups and leaders calling for an end to gun violence.
“It’s time we got that flag raised and we start saving lives,” said state Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-153rd. “Every single day in America, 91 people die of gun violence. Two-thirds of those souls are from suicide. That is 33,000 people a year. It’s a stunning statistic – it makes no sense.”
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The PA SAFE Caucus, which is chaired by Dean, co-hosted the rally, along with Everytown for Gun Safety, American State Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention, CeaseFirePA and Americans for Responsible Solutions.
“Ours is squarely, sadly, a uniquely American epidemic – one that none of the Founding Fathers across the way (at Independence Mall) and across the centuries could ever have dreamed of or aspired to as they wrote our founding documents,” Dean said. “It’s a uniquely man-made problem.”
Though the rally was in part to garner attention through a social media campaign with numerous hashtags to the current destructiveness of American society, it was also a way for these groups to network with each other and the guests in attendance.
The nonpartisan event, which was not affiliated with the Democratic National Convention, featured a big speaker in former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell.
“If we’re going to make progress, the message we have to take is that we’re going to be single-issue voters,” Rendell said. “I don’t care about e-mails or anything else, (but) we need to vote for Hillary Clinton because she is someone who is going to make progress on gun control.
“Donald Trump, first of all, doesn’t have a clue what the Second Amendment says, and won’t make any progress on reasonably limiting Second Amendment rights.”
Rendell admitted that these things won’t wipe out gun violence, but, as he pointed out to the crowd, if it can save one life per day in the United States, wouldn’t it be worth it?
“I’m not ashamed of being a single-issue voter,” Rendell said. “This is a fight worth fighting for.”’
The event on Monday had a small gathering, but the hope is to have many more people out on Tuesday morning and truly make their voices heard.
The PA SAFE Caucus will also hold a rally on Tuesday, at 10 a.m., at Logan Circle, and will feature Rendell once again and former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords.
“We are no longer afraid of the big, bad gun lobby,” said Shira Goodman, of CeaseFire PA. “I know that, although the legislators have their work to do and this is a hard place to do that work, it’s up to us. We have to make our voices heard. I am tired, I am angry and I am fed up that every morning I wake up to another horrible (shooting).”