The Philadelphia police standoff was still ongoing Wednesday night, but the city’s mayor and several national Democrats immediately issued calls for more gun control.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said at an evening news conference that city officials are “a little angry about someone having all that weaponry, all that firepower.”
At the time, a male suspect was holed up in a North Philadelphia row house in an hours-long standoff after a gunfight had wounded six police officer, though none suffered life-threatening injuries. Police told dispatcher that the weapon was some kind of long gun, and witnesses said they had heard more than 100 shots.
Later in the evening, Mr. Kenney went much harder on the issue, calling America’s gun violence and gun laws “aggravating” “saddening” and “disgusting.” He said that the suspect had a long criminal record and said would not have had his weapon but for the federal and state governments.
The police “need help with gun control,” he said.
“The government at the federal and state levels don’t want to get guns off the street,” Mr. Kenney said. “If the state and federal govenments don’t want to stand up to the NRA, let us” in city government.
But he said Pennsylvania and the federal government are both pre-empting that.
At least three Democratic presidential candidates also lost no time calling for gun control.
“It is devastating that so many families are suffering, or losing the people they love, while we wait to make the substantial gun reform we need to keep people in our country safe. Our hearts are with the people of Philadelphia tonight,” former housing secretary Julian Castro wrote on Twitter.
When asked about the Philadelphia shooting on CNN while it was still unfolding early in the evening, Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California replied by launching into her gun-control stump speech.
“When will it stop? Part of my focus on what we need to do around smart gun-safety laws is recognizing that we have to have more enforcement around gun dealers.”
At that hour, nobody knew who the gunman was, what weapon he used or how he acquired it.
And Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey told MSNBC that police encounter weapons he said people shouldn’t have and that his gun-control plans would curtail.
“Unfortunately, in our cities all across America, we see officers in situations of danger they should not be in and would not be in if we were a nation that had sensible gun safety law,” he said.
Mr. Booker went on to tout his platform.
“So, often, the voices you hear calling for the kind of gun safety that I put in my very bold plan are police officers wanting it to happen, because their lives are getting increasingly dangerous,” he said,
Former Rep. Gabrielle Gifford, the Arizona Democrat who became a gun-control activist after being shot by a madman, said she was “horrified watching the tragedy unfolding before our eyes in Philadelphia.”
“I said it 10 days ago, and I’m saying it again today: Mitch McConnell must bring the Senate back in session immediately and send the background checks bill to Donald Trump’s desk,” she said.
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