PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It was supposed to be a tour of Wigle Whiskey to promote an increase in the minimum wage, but the number of cameras told everyone it was about something else.
“I want to say a few words about the violence in Wilkinsburg last night,” Gov. Tom Wolf told the crowded room of reporters.READ MORE: Police Recover Drugs, Money, And Stolen Guns From Residence In Homewood
After expressing condolences to the families, Wolf linked the gun violence in urban centers throughout the state to poverty and poor schools.
“In Wilkinsburg, 40 percent — 40 percent — of the people live in poverty right here in Pittsburgh,” said the governor. “There are four of the most impoverished school districts in the Commonwealth right here in Pittsburgh. Gun violence is tied to poverty, and we have to find ways to address the root cause of poverty in communities across Pennsylvania.”
Wolf said he was working to restore budget cuts to mental health services, and he called on the legislature to do that and strengthen gun laws.
“We ought to have reasonable background checks, reasonable gun registration laws. I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, but I think the mayor of Philadelphia said just recently people in cities are not buying guns to go and hunt deer,” Gov. Wolf said.
The right to bear arms, he suggested, has limits.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Pennsylvania: Nursing Home Deaths Fueling Blame
“That right does not extend to criminals. That right does not extend to people who are going to shoot people at backyard parties,” he said.
But with Harrisburg gridlock apparently the norm, KDKA political editor Jon Delano asked him this.
Delano: “Are you suggesting inaction in Harrisburg on budget matters and things like that contributes to the environment in which something like this happens?”
Wolf: “I’m not blaming anybody for anything. I’m saying we can do more, and I’m calling on Harrisburg to do more to make sure we have the legislation.”
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald added that the Wilkinsburg shootings mean everyone needs to stick together.MORE NEWS: 'The Neighborhood Jewel': Community Fights To Save St. Philip School In Crafton From Closing
“This is really where we can say, ‘No, that this is unacceptable.’ We’ve got to stand up,” he said.