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Philadelphia Politicians At It Again

The state representatives that represent the City of Philadelphia are introducing three bills in Harrisburg:

The first bill would make it illegal for anyone charged with a felony, but not yet convicted, to buy, transfer, sell, or possess a firearm.

The second would prohibit anyone convicted of a felony drug offense as a juvenile from buying or owning a gun as an adult.

The third bill would require a mandatory one-year sentence for carrying a gun without a license. It was first introduced in 2007, but failed to move out of committee.

The first one is a non-starter.  We don’t limit constitutional rights based on mere accusation of a crime.  There is not enough due process here.

The second I’d be more amiable to, if I thought it would actually do anything to reduce crime for those intent on committing them.  Just because a gun control law might be constitutional doesn’t mean it will work. And just because we pass something, doesn’t mean it will be enforced, which brings me to three.

Three is a no go because the city refuses to use the laws it already has.  We’ve clearly documented on this blog the City’s utter failure to prosecute criminals who carry firearms illegally.

Enforce the laws you already have before you ask for more.  I am not in favor of giving Philadelphia more laws it won’t use against criminals.  If the problem is judges, city politicians need to campaign to get new ones.  The answer is not to continually blame Harrisburg.  Pennsylvania has expanded its gun control laws significantly in the past several decades, and the city has refused to use any of them to actually go after criminals.  I think that’s a big deal, and it’s not being talked about, but it’s the the first conversation that should be had before new laws are discussed.  Philly politicians keep saying the Commonwealth’s gun control laws are inadqueate.  How would they know if they won’t use them?

6 Responses to “Philadelphia Politicians At It Again”

  1. The first bill duplicates current federal law. See question 11.b on the 4473 Form. Many states have similar provisions. Idaho, for example.

  2. countertop says:

    How about finding someone to introduce a bill usurping philly’s right to prosecute – or providing that crimes committed in Philly will be be prosecuted by the state AG in Harrisburg (not city court). Let them do that for 5 years and if crime doesn’t drop . . . THEN they can start complaining about gun control laws.

  3. Link says:

    I thought PA had a mandatory 5 year sentence for possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

  4. Andy says:

    The second is interesting as long as I had an understanding of what constitutes a felony drug offense as a juvenile. If it’s similar to that of an adult, it’s something to think about. Since in most states juvenile records are closed at 18, potential adult felons can now legally obtain a firearm. The question in my mind is what is the trend regarding juvenile drug felons becoming adult drug felons? Might be a strong case.

    The third makes no sense in a nation with full prisons, unless they are just creating a new charge to add more prison time to a multiple offender. Otherwise, fine ’em and lets move on.

  5. Matt Groom says:

    Not that I want to argue with Clayton E. Cramer, but if the law says that you cannot buy a gun after you are accused of a felony, that makes sense, but not being able to sell, transfer, or possess one you already own is lunacy. Technically, the very fact that a firearm exists in the possession of the accused means that that law will be and must be broken, since it cannot be sold or transferred, not even to police, unless a provision specifically exempting this activity is added. It’s a catch 22, and it violates the 4th amendment to boot since it deprives a person of their lawfully held property, or requires they surrender it to the state without compensation (since they can’t lawfully sell it).

    The second is dumb because it assumes that drug laws make any sense at all, which they don’t, and is in essence a violation of the 5th Amendment and is double jeopardy, since you’ll be punished twice for one crime. “We know you got caught and served your time, but now that you’re an adult and you’re living the straight and narrow, we’re gonna fine you $10,000 even though your crime happened 12 years ago. Oh, and you can’t own guns.”

    The third is stupid because it makes criminals out of people who are exercising a Constitutional right, the right to bear arms. I was arrested for this very thing, because I had a loaded gun IN MY CAR. I had committed no other crime, but if I had gone to prison and lost my civil rights by becoming a FELON, you can BET that I’d be on the wrong side of the law from then onward.

    If a person feels the need to carry a firearm and is not in the commission of any other serious crime (jay walking and speeding are crimes) then they should be fined and reprimanded and MAYBE put on probation, not have their lives ruined because of bureaucrats.

  6. Many states also require you to transfer firearms in your posssession to a third party or the government while you are awaiting trial on a felony. In California, it typically takes a lawyer to get your gun back, even if you are found innocent.

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