YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – York has been a hot spot for gun violence this year and U.S. Senator Bob Casey believes the recently-passed Safer Communities Act will help communities such as York.

The legislation, signed by President Joe Biden in June, enhances background checks, closes the “boyfriend loophole,” and invests in mental health programs. Casey believes there is still “a long way to go” to combat gun violence in cities such as York.

“We have to pass background check legislation for the whole nation, we have to make sure more and more states have these extreme risk protection orders. We’ve got to make sure that we take off our streets these military-style weapons,” said Casey.

The Senator’s visit came two days after 28-year-old Akwame Anderson was shot and killed in the city’s 17th homicide this year. The York County Coroner’s office says they have investigated 25 homicides in the county this year, many of which are gun-related.

When asked to address the city’s recent violence, Casey said Congress has not done enough, and defeating organizations such as the National Rifle Association is very difficult.

“I think the fact that we made a breakthrough this year is a good sign.”

Casey said the number of gun deaths in York is horrific and “it’s a reminder that we have a long way to go.”

“There’s so much more we have to do, but this was, I think, a sobering reminder as the mayor outlined about the challenge ahead of us. But it’s important for people to know, to give people some hope in often a sea of despair on gun legislation,” said Casey.

York City Police say they’ve worked on getting illegal firearms off the city streets.

“We just need to focus more on individuals out here doing this type of crime and kind of touch their heart,” said Capt. Daniel Lentz of the York City Police Department.

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Casey also addressed the upcoming election that will decide who will serve with him in the U.S. Senate representing Pennsylvania. The Democrat affirmed his belief that Lt. Governor John Fetterman will win in a race where polls have him leading Republican Mehmet Oz.

“It will come after kind of a corporate assault that I’ve never seen in a Senate race,” said Casey, “where major corporations and their allies are unloading their treasuries on John, but it’s not going to work.”

Casey also emphasized the need to pass the Voting Rights Act, Electoral Count legislation, and other election integrity legislation.

“Everything is at risk. Everything we talk about, our American way of life is at risk, so protecting our democracy is fundamental to protecting who we are.”