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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Sheriff’s deputies fanned out across five neighborhoods in Philadelphia to hand out 1,000 free gun safety locks, while dispensing some advice on keeping children away from them.

At the corner of 52nd and Market Streets one passerby, Symir, repeated the words of Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams, “If you have a gun, you need a lock.”

“People are leaving their guns in the houses and kids find them. They’re not locked up, and kids get shot,” said Symir.

He heard about the three-year-old girl down the street who recently shot herself after finding a loaded, unlocked gun belonging to her father.

“Yeah man, if they were locked up, the little girl couldn’t have shot herself. Facts, facts, they need to first speak to the child and let them know don’t touch it, and why they shouldn’t touch it,” Symir said.

Deputy Sheriff Derrick Murphy says their aim is to help adults secure and safely store their firearms.

“We give them a little class on how to use it, and secure their weapon,” said Murphy.

The sheriff’s department estimates one in three handguns are kept loaded and unlocked in homes, and most kids know where their parents keep guns.

Find the article here: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2017/12/15/gun-safety-locks-philly/

In this morning's 6-2 Supreme Court decision, the crime of reckless domestic violence and abuse is now considered a misdemeanor that justifies firearms possession restriction. What does that mean? It means closing one of the many gaping loopholes in gun control legislation and cracking down on violent domestic crime. Most importantly, it means safer homes for those most at risk: women (especially women of color), LGBTQ+ folks, and children.

The Voisine v. United States decision extended the previous ruling in United States v. Castleman that declared the “firearms possession by convicted felons” illegal. So why wasn’t this a thing before?

On the books, there’s a distinction between recklessly and knowingly committing a crime, known as mens rea—their state of mind during their actions. Stephen Voisine, the man in question in this case for repeatedly becoming violent against his girlfriend, argued in court that actions charged as reckless shouldn’t be considered under the umbrella of crimes that would prevent him from buying a gun.

Virginia Villa, Voisine’s defender, argued that recklessness doesn’t necessarily constitute a “use of force.” This puts in perspective why this pretty big issue hasn't been put in the books before. She explained that she once had a client who plead guilty to a misdemeanor because he was running away from someone attacking him, and when he ran through a door and slammed it, it caught and broke the attacker’s fingers. Um, comparing a drunken assault on someone to an escape measure? I don't think so.

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan wasn’t having this excuse either, and shot back remarks that almost closed the case right then. While in Villa’s example, the client didn’t mean to hurt the man running after him, he still did. In many domestic violence cases, Kagan explained, reckless conduct between the perpetrator and victim is what leads to violence—not the use of direct violent force. Tell 'em, girl! 

Basically, the Court decided it was time to validate all the domestic violence that happens while the perpetrator is under the influence and otherwise in a volatile state that causes their actions to be executed recklessly. This is a win for feminism, equality in the home, and in finally making movements on reigning in this country’s insane, libertarian approach to gun-owning.

Yeah, it's about time.

If you want to listen to more of the case, here's a video of the whole ordeal—with dogs instead of justices (no cameras are allowed to film Supreme Court case proceedings).

Original Article via Bust: http://bust.com/living/16586-another-feminist-win-from-the-supreme-court.html

Sheriff de Philadelphia Jewell Williams y el personal participaron en el esfuerzo de toda la ciudad National Night Out el 31 de julio y el 1 de agosto en 8 lugares entregando Free Gun Locks e información adicional sobre lo que hace la Oficina y cómo comprar propiedades en Sheriff Sales.

Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams and staff participated in the National Night Out city-wide effort on July 31 and August 1 at 8 locations by handing out Free Gun Locks and additional information on what the Office does and How To Buy Property at Sheriff Sales.

Philadelphia, July 3 - Sheriff Jewell Williams will urge youngsters to have a peaceful summer as he visits children’s programs this summer.

The Sheriff will “deputize” children who take a gun safety pledge as part of his Summer of Peace initiative, according to a news release.

The effort was kicked off at the end of the 2016-17 school year, when Williams visited several schools to spread the summer of peace message.

The Sheriff and Canine Carter — a member of the Sheriff’s K-9 unit — visited the Greenfield School in Center City and the Powel School in West Philadelphia to educate students about how to “stay cool” when they encounter conflicts and what to do if they find a gun at home or in their neighborhood, according to a news release.

“Be respectful, don’t bully and most importantly, if you see a gun, don’t touch it,” said Williams. “Immediately tell a parent, a nearby adult and if you are alone in a home call 911.”

According to Children’s Defense Fund, a child or teen dies by gun in the U.S. every three hours and eight minutes.

Having a gun in the home makes the likelihood of accidental death four times higher and more than half of youths committing suicide by gun found it at home and it usually belonged to the parent, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The office pointed to a recent study by the American Academy of Pediatricians that indicated “Nearly 1,300 children die and 5,790 are treated for gunshot wounds each year. Boys, older children and minorities are more likely” to fall victim to gun violence than others. In 2015, 42 percent of gun deaths were among Black children and teens.

“Don’t be a statistic,” Williams told the children when introducing Canine Carter to students at the Samuel Powel School in Powelton Village. “Use your mouth, not your fists or weapons, to settle differences. Don’t let things escalate.”

The Sheriff will be pressing this message during the months when youngsters may find themselves on the streets in tense situations: “In the warm weather months things can easily heat up. Giving kids the message they can keep themselves safe or prevent a crime is powerful and maybe if they hear it often enough they will practice what we preach. Summer is a time for fun, visiting the beach, having picnics and barbecues. I want them to stay cool in every way and help us all to have a summer of peace.”

As part of the Summer of Peace activities, the Sheriff is reaching out to groups of children at church and summer camps to take the following gun safety pledge:

I will never play with guns; if I see a gun, I won’t touch it.

I will remember that any gun I see might be loaded.

I will never go snooping or allow my friends to go snooping for guns in the house.

If I find a gun, I will tell a grown-up I know right away.

I know how important it is to keep myself safe.

Throughout the summer, the Sheriff’s Office will carry its safety message to outdoor festivals, summer gatherings, children’s programs and block captains, the news release stated.

The Office of the Sheriff is also working with Philadelphia Integrated Town Watch and Temple University Medical School’s summer outreach program to distribute gunlocks this summer to city residents to help keep children safe.

The Sheriff and City Council President Darrell Clarke began the gunlock program in August 2016. To date, more than 3,000 free gunlocks have been given to Philadelphia families through the Sheriff’s Office and City Council offices. Philadelphia residents can pick up free gunlocks at the Sheriff’s Office any weekday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 100 S. Broad St. on the 5th floor. For more information call (215) 686-3572 or visit www.phillysheriff.com.


Tribune Staff Report / The Philadelphia Tribune

You'll keep your phone, but in a locked bag

If you have business Monday at Philadelphia’s Criminal Justice Center, expect delays.

It’s the first day of a new court policy requiring most civilians entering the building to turn off their cellphones and put them into a magnetically sealed “Yondr” pouch that keeps phones locked within a designated no-phone zone.

You’ll be able to keep your cellphone with you, but you won’t be able to use it. When you’re ready to leave the courthouse at 13th and Filbert Streets, you’ll return to court personnel, who will unlock the pouch and return the phone.

“It’s a 21st century solution to a 21st century problem,” Jacqueline F. Allen, administrative judge for the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, said at a recent news conference unveiling the new system.

Not that there won’t be a learning curve before the public gets used to the new policy.

Court administrator Joseph H. Evers said added personnel will be in the courthouse lobby Monday to help guide the public through the phone-bagging process and security. He said the courts have acquired 4,500 Yondr pouches at a cost of $50,000.

The new system is court officials’ latest effort to deal with the problems caused by cellphones in a criminal courthouse. Rarely does a day go by without somebody’s cellphone going off in one of the building’s 11 floors of courtrooms.

Usually, the offender’s phone is confiscated by court personnel and returned at the end of the day. But sometimes an offender is incarcerated or fined for contempt of court. And then there is the continuing problem of intimidation: friends of people on trial taking surreptitious photos of witnesses to post on social media.

Years ago, people entering the courthouse were required to surrender their cellphones at security. The phones were placed in individual locked boxes until the owners left the building.

The system was scrapped because of the delays it caused and complaints that phones were damaged or returned to the wrong person.

“The new system keeps the phones in their hands,” Evers said. “It makes them their responsibility, not ours.”

Allen said she first read of the Yondr mobile phone locked box in an October article in the New York Times about how entertainers including Dave Chappelle have begun using them to prevent interruptions and recordings of their concerts.

Yondr has said the Philadelphia criminal courthouse is the first to use the phone pouches for all courthouse visitors.

Evers said the courthouse collected about 3,500 cellphones daily when it used its own locked box system.

Complaints about the new system are likely to come from lawyers who cannot phone clients who are late for a hearing and clients who can’t find their lawyers.

Some people will be exempted from the new requirement: current and former judges, current court employees, lawyers and law enforcement personnel with proper identification, people with disabilities who need an electronic device to communicate, credentialed news reporters with ID.

Jurors will not have to use the pouches but will surrender their phones to courtroom personnel if picked for a trial.

For everyone else, Evers had a suggestion that these days seems almost quaint: Use the pay phones on each floor of the Criminal Justice Center.


Written by Joseph A. Slobodzian for the Inquirer.

SOUTH PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Members of the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office were dispatched Friday to a South Philadelphia Five Below store for an important job - to buy gifts for children who need a little help this holiday season.

"Disabled veterans' families were going to be doing this year. We're also going to be doing family shelters, we're going to be doing schools. It's just all the way around. We're trying to reach as many families, the less fortunate," said Sheriff's Office Inspector Michael Bastone.

The list of who they are helping has expanded since the office started this tradition several years ago. The sale of T-shirts have raised more than $5,000 this year for the gifts.

"We have shirts printed every year, sheriff's shirts, which have a nice toy drive on the back. We sell these shirts for $20, and then the proceeds is used for the toys," said Bastone.

After making their list and checking it twice, they carried the goods away until it's time to play Santa.

"For us it's really great. To do this it's awesome. I mean it really touches our hearts for many of the officers," said Bastone.

Santa has a sleigh, and the Sheriff's Office has their own transport van and an entire fleet. They will use those vehicles to transport the toys to the children starting Saturday.


Reported by Annie McCormick for 6ABC News.