Philadelphia’s City Council voted to remove bulletproof glass windows from certain local businesses Thursday, upsetting shop owners who fear for their safety.
The council passed the measure by a vote of 14-3 to remove protective glass that separates customers from the cash register. Lawmakers believe these stores may be serving as drug fronts and are attracting undesirable elements into the community, according to Fox News.
The legislation stops short of full removal, however, and states the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections must “promulgate regulations to provide for the use or removal of any physical barrier” in stores that offer food and alcohol by Jan. 1, 2021, Fox News Reports.
The City Council chamber was full of store clerks and owners who were against the measure. Mostly Asian-American residents spoke out and asked the council to reconsider, according to Fox29.
“I was the victim of a robbery when I was ten years old,” said one store owner. “And I don’t want that to happen again.”
Another store owner spoke through an interpreter and said if the council goes through with the new rule, “more people will die.”
The bill would have unintended consequences and force business owners to buy firearms to defend themselves, making the problem even worse, City councilman David Oh said, FoxNews reported.
“If we take down the safety glass, they’re not changing their business model,” Oh said. “They’re not moving. What they will do is purchase firearms. I think that is a worse situation than what we have today.”
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