DECEMBER 07, 2007
Claiming it wasn’t a walkout but rather a “standup,” black Democratic lawmakers representing Pennsylvania’s urban areas abruptly stormed out of a House session to demand gun control legislation.
The rebel state legislators are from Philadelphia’s roughest neighborhoods, where 80% of this year’s nearly 400 deaths involved handguns. They insist on passing what they call meaningful gun-control legislation in order to save lives in their crime-infested communities.
For the walkout to have an impact the members of the Legislative Black Caucus purposely timed it to coincide with a debate on one of the last major items left on this year’s legislative agenda, a bill to make government records more accessible.
It’s not the first time that the state’s black caucus has resorted to such measures. Earlier this year the group threatened to withhold its votes to prevent passage of the state budget until gun measures were seriously considered.
One influential state representative who helped lead this week’s protest said walking by open caskets, day in and day out, has prioritized his group’s mission of making sure guns are taken off the streets.
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