Philadelphia, PA - Philadelphia councilwoman Cindy Bass has introduced a controversial bill that would require business owners to take down any bulletproof glass they have in their businesses, and not allow future installation.
The bill, known as the Stop and Go bill, is moving through city hall, and reads "No establishment shall erect or maintain a physical barrier."
Broad Deli is a local business on the corner of the 2200 block of North Broad. It has a wall of bulletproof glass separating its employees from customers.
"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.
She said that she is trying to put some type of control on these small stores, which she claimed sell booze, very little food, and caused a lot of trouble in her district.
"Right now, the Plexiglas has to come down,” she said.
Kim disagreed with Bass's characterization of businesses like the one he owns, and said when he called police about people loitering, the response time was usually slow.
He said he believed that he was being targeted as a Korean-American. Business owner Mike Choe agreed with him.
Choe, who runs a non-profit that supports Korean-owned businesses, said that he planned to raise $100,000 to fight the bill.
"I do think it's a bad bill that will endanger Korean Americans,” he said.
Bass said that she is fighting for her constituents.
Choe responded to Bass, and said the “bill targets Korean Americans."
Bass denied Choe’s allegation.
"Absolutely not. I find that offensive,” Bass said.
Do you think business owners should have the right to choose whether they want to install bulletproof glass in their businesses to protect employees? Tell us what you think in the comments below!