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United Way of Lancaster County


‘United Against Gun Violence’ block party is Saturday

Community members launch balloons into the sky in remembrance of loved ones lost to gun violence, during the Triumph Through Tragedy barbecue at Reservoir Park on Saturday, July 15, 2023. (Photo: Tim Stuhldreher)

Local organization Triumph Through Tragedy will hold its second annual “United Against Gun Violence” block party from 12 noon to 6 p.m. this Saturday, July 13, at Lancaster’s Reservoir Park, 701 E. King St.

The event will feature live music, games, raffles, free food and children’s activities as well as an array of guest speakers encouraging the community to take a stand against gun crime.

Triumph Through Tragedy was founded in honor of Brandon Lamar Seals, who was shot and killed in July 11. It is led by Cadrin Seals, Brandon’s brother.

More than 100 people attended last year’s block party, many wearing orange to honor gun violence victims. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate unity and to support families who have lost loved ones, Seals said.

Pennsylvania reported 179 gun homicides in the first four months of this year, down 24% from the 235 over the same period in 2023. In Philadelphia, gun homicides dropped 16% over the period, the largest decline among major U.S. cities.

Advocates say community-based interventions are helping, but that gun-control legislation is needed as well. In May, two gun-related bills failed in the Pennsylvania House, each by a single vote. House Bill 335 would have banned bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic rifles to fire hundreds of rounds a minute; House Bill 2206 would have required gun sellers to submit required sales records electronically rather than by conventional mail.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal law outlawing machine guns did not authorize Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to ban bump stocks.