Sheriff Jewell Williams and Philadelphia City Council President Darell L. Clarke have been promoting the use of gun locks over the past several weeks as part of their joint gun lock safety initiative, #GotAGunGetALock, to help avoid tragedies like this:

From Philly.com:

Two-year-old Benjamin Smith told his father he was going to watch Winnie the Pooh. He went into a bedroom to turn on the TV. A few minutes passed.

Then, a bang.

The boy, police said, picked up a .45 caliber handgun that his father kept loaded on a nightstand and accidentally shot himself. He died just before midnight Sept. 12.

On Wednesday, the father, Nicholas Wyllie, 26, of Quakertown, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, endangering the welfare of a child, and recklessly endangering another person. He was arraigned at District Court in Perkasie.


"This is a terribly tragic death, and the worst part about it is it was 100 percent avoidable," Bucks County District Attorney Matthew D. Weintraub said outside the courtroom.


Click here to learn more about Sheriff Jewell Williams's gun lock program.

Philadelphia City Council President Darrell L. Clarke and Sheriff Jewell Williams will appear together Sunday morning, September 25th at 11:30 a.m. on NBC 10 @ issue, a weekly news show that immediately follows "Meet The Press".  The two will discuss their joint "Got a Gun.  Get a Lock!" campaign that seeks to reduce incidents of accidental shootings, especially among children, by securing guns with gun locks given away free of charge, no questions asked.

Sheriff Jewell Williams recently named Deputy Sheriff Officer Robert Hunisch the Military Affairs Liaison for the sheriff’s office as part of its ongoing efforts of community outreach and education.

“Many veterans are returning from long campaigns overseas,” said Sheriff Williams, “and may have issues involving deeds, keeping up with mortgage payments, or looking to buy a property through a sheriff’s sale. We want to make sure they receive all the information necessary to aid in their readjustment”.

DSO Hunisch, who currently lives in South Philadelphia, served in Guantanamo Bay guarding some of the most dangerous terrorists in the world, and is an 8-year Army veteran who currently serves in the reserves.

“There are so many veterans out there who can use the help we are trying to provide,” he said, “and I can’t stress enough how important these outreach efforts are to helping soldiers get back to a normal life”.

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, there are approximately 50,000 veterans nationwide who are homeless, and those veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are among the highest number of individuals who are losing their homes to foreclosure and/or taxes.

“We already sponsor numerous workshops and seminars to educate people on how to keep your home as well as how to purchase a home and it’s our goal to get as much of this information out as possible”, said Sheriff Williams, “and dedicated deputies like Hunisch are helping us do just that”.

For more information contact Joseph Blake at 215-495-4174.


Published by The Philadelphia Sun.

Angel Lee was pregnant when she moved to the LGBTQ Home for Hope in North Philadelphia nearly six months ago. A man who refused to believe her sexual orientation had raped her.

She decided to keep the baby, whom she delivered this past Tuesday, naming her Sky Sakina Barnes Lee.

Before giving birth, Lee shared her story Sept. 1 with eight representatives from the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office. They had come to the shelter on North Hutchinson Street to celebrate its one-year anniversary.

In that time, the home has hosted city, state and federal officials. It’s the first shelter for LGBT homeless people in Philadelphia.

Deputy Sheriff Dante Austin, one of two LGBT liaisons in the sheriff’s office, organized the anniversary visit. John Hodges, a civilian employee and the other LGBT liaison, also attended.

“I really want these officers to get to know the community,” Austin, an openly gay deputy, told the residents, “not in a cell and not in a courtroom. These statistics and these definitions are nice, but if they don’t know you, they won’t care.”

After Lee shared her story, the officers brought in bundles of baby supplies. Lee held back tears0 and, while posing for photos later, she joked, “I’m actually touching a cop without getting in trouble.”

Lee will have to leave the Home for Hope now that she has given birth. The shelter is not equipped to house an infant, officials said. She’s not sure yet where she will move. But she said she would still visit the residents.

“We’re a family here,” said Anya Martin, who has lived at the home for a year.

At the hour-long celebration, several residents shared their coming-out stories and experiences with law enforcement. Austin also talked about how the sheriff’s deputies had supported the LGBT community in the field.

For each person living in the Home for Hope, 38 officers sponsored 38 bags of donations. They included sheets, pillows and blankets, along with an array of toiletries. Austin also asked each officer to write a personalized note to the resident who would receive each bag. He included a statement from Sheriff Jewell Williams and a description of the work he’s doing as LGBT liaison.

Chief Sheriff Deputy Kevin Lamb said the office is so much more educated about the LGBT community because of Austin.

Deja Lynn Alvarez, director of the Home for Hope, said she was happy to have the sheriff’s office representatives spend time at the shelter and get to know the residents.

“It’s kind of hard to believe that it’s been a year,” she said, “with no real financial backing.”

Donations cover the expenses, which Alvarez said in July can run $8,000-$9,000 a month.

“It really sets in like, we’re still here, we’re still full,” Alvarez continued. “Our first year has been difficult. I feel like our second year will be better.”

Sakina Dean, the owner of the Home for Hope, said she’d like to purchase the 15-bedroom, nine-bathroom former convent. Its current owner, Northstar Manor Inc., has agreed to a price of $250,000, which is half of the place’s market value, according to Philadelphia property records.

Standing out front, facing the large side yard, Dean pointed out where she would eventually like to see a youth shelter and affordable housing. Alvarez would like to get experts to offer workshops on life coaching and personal finances.

“It has been a journey,” Dean said of the Home for Hope’s first year. “Through faith and through our mission, I believe it’s going to continue to be a success.”

For more information or to support the home, visit http://ow.ly/Jnjs302onH1.


Written by Paige Cooperstein for the Philadelphia Gay News.

The Sheriff's Office, in partnership with the City Council President Darrell Clarke, are committed to distributing gun locks to gun owners in Philadelphia to promote safe firearm containment practices and prevent gun accidents, theft and misuse.

Using a gun lock is easy. Simply remove the loose end of the cable from the padlock and thread it through your unloaded firearm as shown on the included instruction sheet. With the key turned to the farthest clockwise position, insert the loose end of the cable into the padlock. Then turn the key counterclockwise and remove the key. Check that the cable is secure. Your gun is now locked and safe. Make sure you store your key and ammunition someplace away from the gun.

To receive a gun lock, you can either pick one up at the front desk of the Sheriff’s Office on the 5th Floor of 100 S. Broad Street between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., or call our hotline number at 215-686-3572. Leave your name, number and address and someone from the Sheriff’s Office will quickly be in touch with you.

 

The compelling theme of “Got a gun? Get a lock” is resonating with many people who are requesting gun locks—no questions asked—from the Office of the Sheriff of Philadelphia City & County.

“It’s great that we are getting this kind of response,” said Sheriff Jewell Williams. “The number one reason we have joined with City Council President Darrell Clarke and the District Attorney’s office is to get ANY gun in a household securely locked for safety reasons”.

Since the gun lock campaign kicked off at Temple University earlier this month, there have been several events, including a peace march in conjunction with Deliverance Evangelistic Church at 23rd & Lehigh Avenue, in which the sheriff and other elected officials literally handed out gun locks themselves.”

“It’s important that the people see leadership in a leadership role,” said Councilman Clarke recently on the “The Roundup,” the monthly radio show hosted by Sheriff Williams on WURD.

To receive a gun lock, you can either pick one up at the front desk of the sheriff’s office on the 5th Floor of 100 S. Broad street between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., or call our hotline number at 215-686-3572. Leave your name, number and address and someone from the sheriff’s office will quickly be in touch with you.

“We transport more than 500 people per day back and forth between the courts and the prisons,” said Sheriff Williams, “and many are charged with crimes involving guns. Before anger gets to a point of reaching for a gun, if that gun is in a lock, it provides at least a few seconds for an individual to change their mind about firing that weapon, and makes it almost impossible to fire if found, and handled by a child. Got a gun—get a lock”.

A bill was recently enacted by City Council entitled the “Responsibility to Avoid Possession and Discharge of Firearms by Children” act (introduced by Council President Clarke) that requires all firearms in homes with children under the age of 18 to be kept unloaded and stored in a locked container, with the ammunition in a separate locked container. The exception would be when the firearm or ammunition is in the "immediate control" of a person with a license to carry a gun.

Gun-owning Philadelphians need to know about a new law requiring their safe storage in your residence if minors are living with you. That means equipping guns with gun locks.

The bill was introduced last April by Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke, following a number of high-profile preventable tragedies involving children with firearms across the country. Approximately 265 children gained access to a firearm not equipped with a safety lock, and shot someone else or themselves.

Meeting at Temple University Hospital, whose emergency rooms have witnessed a heavy share of such accidents, on Aug. 1, to spread the word were City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, Council Safety Chair Curtis Jones, Jr., Sheriff Jewell Williams, District Attorney Seth Williams, Temple Hospital officials and several community anti-gun-violence groups.

Kicking off the program was the announcement gun locks would be distributed to gun owners at several National Night Out locations in the city Aug. 1 and 2. (For more information on gun locks, owners may call the distribution hotline at (215) 686-3572.)

Clarke said, “Philadelphians are required to keep firearms and ammunition locked away out of the reach of any minors present in the home. This bill was necessary since Pennsylvania is one of 47 states that lack safe-storage laws, despite a number of high-profile tragedies involving children accessing deadly weapons.

“There are few things more outrageous than the death of a child by her own hands or the hands of a playmate or sibling, simply because adults did not act responsibly and keep guns locked far out of reach,” Clarke said. “Children who die in these entirely preventable tragedies are not the only victims: The children who pulled the trigger and the adults who failed to keep them safe must live with an indescribable shame for the rest of their lives. Keeping guns safely stored away from kids is inexpensive and easy, and I’m grateful to our partners for making these gun locks freely available to the public.”

“Gun violence is an epidemic in the city of Philadelphia,” said Amy Goldberg, MD, FACS, professor and chair of the Dept. of Surgery at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, surgeon-in-chief for Temple University Health System, and medical director of perioperative services at Temple University Hospital. “We’ve seen too many incidents where children have access to guns and accidently shoot others or themselves. One life is too many and whatever we can do to preserve a life is a step in the right direction.”“As an army officer and a Philadelphian, and most importantly as a dad, I know guns in the hands of people who should not have them can cause accidents, injuries and sometimes death,” said DA Williams. “It is an honor to stand with this coalition. I look forward to continuing to work with this team, and anyone else, who can help us distribute and advocate for the use of gun locks so we can do the important work of saving lives.”

“Sadly, as evidenced by the number of gun victims that are treated here at Temple and throughout Philadelphia, we are a city that is awash in firearms,” said Scott Charles, MAPP, trauma outreach coordinator at Temple University Hospital. “It is difficult for most people to comprehend the kind of damage that bullets do to the adult human body. The kind of devastation they cause small children is truly unthinkable. We have an obligation to protect our most vulnerable citizens from this kind of suffering and death.”

Approximately 1,000 gun locks were given away over two days of National Night Out events beginning Monday. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, there were more than 10,500 reported deaths from unintentional shootings from 1999 to 2014, of which 2,366 were deaths of minors. From 2001 to 2013, more than 215,000 nonfatal unintentional firearms injuries were reported, of which approximately 55,000 were injuries to minors.

“As part of our anti-crime efforts, giving away free gun locks to secure weapons, will make children safer in their own homes,” said Jones.

Also in attendance for the announcement at Temple University Hospital were Dr. Larry Kaiser, president & CEO, Temple University Health System; Dorothy Johnson Speight, Mothers in Charge; Bilal Qayyum, Father’s Day Rally Committee; Sandy Sheller, Sheller Family Foundation; Shira Goodman, CeaseFirePA; Rev. Bonnie Camarda, the Salvation Army; and representatives of Philadelphia CeaseFire.locked away out of the reach of any minors present in the home. This bill was necessary: Pennsylvania is one of 47 states that lack safe-storage laws, despite a number of high-profile tragedies involving children accessing deadly weapons.

“There are few things more outrageous than the death of a child by their own hand or the hands of a playmate or sibling, simply because adults did not act responsibly and keep guns locked far out of reach,” Clarke said. “Children who die in these entirely preventable tragedies are not the only victims: The children who pulled the trigger and the adults who failed to keep them safe must live with an indescribable shame for the rest of their lives. Keeping guns safely stored away from kids is inexpensive and easy, and I’m grateful to our partners for making these gun locks freely available to the public.”

Sheriff Williams added, “A gun lock is a tool that can be used to keep the public safe, including children and inexperienced gun-owners, regardless of whether the weapon is registered or not. The message is all about gun safety for everyone and saving lives. Got a gun? Get a gun lock!”

“As an army officer and a Philadelphian, and most importantly, as a dad, I know guns in the hands of people who should not have them can cause accidents, injuries and sometimes death,” said DA Williams. “It is an honor to stand with this coalition. I look forward to continuing to work with this team, and anyone else, who can help us distribute and advocate for the use of gun locks so we can do the important work of saving lives.”

“Gun violence is an epidemic in the city of Philadelphia,” said Amy Goldberg, MD, FACS, professor and chair of the Dept. of Surgery at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, surgeon-in-chief for Temple University Health System, and medical director of perioperative services at Temple University Hospital. “We’ve seen too many incidents where children have access to guns and accidently shoot others or themselves. One life is too many and whatever we can do to preserve a life is a step in the right direction.”

“Sadly, as evidenced by the number of gun victims that are treated here at Temple and throughout Philadelphia, we are a city that is awash in firearms,” said Scott Charles, MAPP, trauma outreach coordinator at Temple University Hospital. “It is difficult for most people to comprehend the kind of damage that bullets do to the adult human body. The kind of devastation they cause small children is truly unthinkable. We have an obligation to protect our most vulnerable citizens from this kind of suffering and death.”

Approximately 1,000 gun locks were given away over two days of National Night Out events beginning Monday. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, there were more than 10,500 reported deaths from unintentional shootings from 1999 to 2014, of which 2,366 were deaths of minors. From 2001 to 2013, more than 215,000 nonfatal unintentional firearms injuries were reported, of which approximately 55,000 were injuries to minors.

“As part of our anti-crime efforts, giving away free gun locks to secure weapons, will make children safer in their own homes,” said Jones.

Also in attendance for the announcement at Temple University Hospital were Dr. Larry Kaiser, president & CEO, Temple University Health System; Dorothy Johnson Speight, Mothers in Charge; Bilal Qayyum, Father’s Day Rally Committee; Sandy Sheller, Sheller Family Foundation; Shira Goodman, CeaseFirePA; Rev. Bonnie Camarda, the Salvation Army; and representatives of the Philadelphia branch of CeaseFirePA.


The Philadelphia Public Record