By Howard Monroe


VILLANOVA, Pa. (CBS) — City of Philadelphia data shows there have been 247 people killed due to gun violence so far this year. The number is slightly up from this time in 2018 and now students at Villanova University are honoring the victims of gun violence.

Those students say the gun violence in the city is far too much and a display on campus is showing just how bad it is.

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“Guns are out of control,” Naomi Washington-Leaphert says.

One T-frame and one T-shirt at a time, Villanova University is highlighting Philadelphia’s crime problem.

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“It’s actually really sad. Growing up in the city there was a lot of gun violence going on, but I didn’t think it was going to be this bad,” Lavan Wilson says.

Two hundred-ninety-five T-frames were placed on the school’s lawn Friday. That is the number of people in the city who were killed last year due to gun violence.

Each shirt displayed the victim’s name, age at their time of death and day they died.

credit: CBS3

“Seeing numbers in a newspaper are not emotionally effective like the memorial,” Bryan Miller said.

Also on Friday, Sen. Pat Toomey announced that he is teaming with a bipartisan group of senators to draft a background check bill.

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This bill would require all people buying a gun from a store or online to go through a background check. It would also ban people with violent backgrounds and those who are dangerously mentally ill from legally buying a gun.

“We have a challenge ahead of us, no question,” Toomey said. “We have Democratic colleagues who think this doesn’t go far enough and we have Republican colleagues who would rather do nothing at all.”

Back at Villanova, they say the gun violence has to stop.

“To know that these folks had full lives ahead of them and because of the proliferation of guns in our streets, they don’t get the chance to live,” Washington-Leaphert said.

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Sen. Bob Casey released a statement Friday, saying, “Gun violence is a uniquely American problem that we must confront. We are long overdue for [Senate] Leader [Mitch] McConnell to bring common sense gun legislation to the Senate floor for a debate and vote.”

Friday’s event will be followed up with a gun violence awareness day on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Toomey says President Donald Trump is engaged on the topic of increased background checks, but he didn’t give a time frame on when the bill will be voted on.