Philadelphia, PA – A city councilwoman in Philadelphia was celebrating her victory on Thursday, after the city council passed her proposed legislation to force some local businesses to remove bullet proof glass from their stores.
The bill, known as the Stop and Go bill, said, “No establishment shall erect or maintain a physical barrier.” Businesses who are told to remove their bullet-proof glass will face stiff fines for non-compliance.
The Philadelphia City Council voted 14-3 to approve the legislation that could force business owners to remove the protective glass outside their storefronts despite a backlash from shop owners who cited safety concerns, WTXF reported.
The bill’s sponsor, Cindy Bass, said she wanted to force some businesses “to change their business model,” Philly Voice reported.
“What I want to communicate to people is that these are beer/deli type places,” Bass said. “About 90 percent [of these establishments] in my district [with restaurant licensure] don’t even sell food.
“They sell other products that can be turned into street drugs, like cold medications. They sell crack pipes. If these stores sold hypodermic needles, there’d be outrage, there’d be people screaming to ‘Shut ’em down.’ But with crack pipes, it’s OK? That should tell you something,” she said.
Convenience store owners fought the bill, saying that it put the Korean community, who run many of the stores targeted by the Stop and Go bill, in jeopardy.
“The most important thing is safety and the public’s safety,” Rich Kim, the owner of Broad Deli, told WTXF. His family has run the deli, which sells soda, snacks, meals, and beer by the can, for 20 years.
Kim said that he had the bulletproof glass installed after a shooting, and that it saved his mother-in-law from a knife attack.
“If the glass comes down, the crime rate will rise and there will be lots of dead bodies,” he said.
Bass was more concerned about customer’s feelings, and said her constituents shouldn’t have to suffer the indignity of shopping through bulletproof glass.
Citizens agreed with Kim on Twitter.
City Councilman David Oh called the new legislation “worse … than what we have today, according to WTXF.
“If we take down the safety glass, they’re not changing their business model. They’re not moving. What they will do is purchase firearms. I think that is a worse situation than what we have today,” Oh said.