Currently Browsing: Philadelphia
Jun 2, 2016
The quote in the title is from NRA Pennsylvania State Liaison John Hohenwarter, in an Inquirer article about Philadelphia’s new “gun safety” bills. Any time the media promotes the other side’s preferred terms like “gun safety” they cease to be journalists and instead make themselves propagandists. The bill in question is a “safe storage” law that is a middle finger raised directly at the Heller decision. But as we saw with the Jackson case, the Supreme Court is unwilling to enforce this provision of Heller, even while Justice Scalia was still alive.
John Hohenwarter is right though. The City can pass all the ordinances it would like, but it can’t enforce them. That would raise standing and allow us to defeat the ordinance. Eventually we’ll get enhanced preemption once again, where we don’t have to wait for enforcement. It may take another eight years, but eventually we’ll get it.
Sep 29, 2015
The dead air has honestly been for lack of news, and I’ve gotten to the point in blogging I hate just producing useless filler (you know, like this post). There’s way too much of that out there, and it wastes your time and mine. Speaking of the Pope visit, as anyone with half a brain could have predicted, turnout was way lower than expected, and there are businesses that lost a lot of money. Restaurants were told to expect to be very busy, probably figuring a communion wafer is hardly even a light afternoon snack. But the crowd disappeared as soon as Frances did. Now the finger pointing begins! I was out in the Harrisburg area this weekend, partaking in the grand tradition of my Huguenot ancestors: running away from Catholics. Even out there, the signs were flashing advisories that might as well have said, “Danger! Pope Visiting Philadelphia!”, like Godzilla had come ashore and was heading inland. Nonetheless, the light turnout didn’t prevent the Secret Service from turning security into a mess.
The Onion had some commentary on the visit here, and here. That’s funny right there. I don’t care who you are.
Hopefully tomorrow we’ll have non-pope news. It’s been quiet, almost too quiet on the gun front. Every time I worry about a sagging news cycle, I’m reminded that December 2012 was also a sagging news cycle, and I’ve learned to be careful about complaining about a lack of news.
Feb 23, 2015
Today has had a bit of excitement in Bucks County. One of the local gun shops was the location of a “standoff” between police and two men from Philadelphia who were attempting to break in.
After stealing a vehicle, the suspects entered through the roof and figured they would go through the ventilation system. They managed to remove at least a sheep mount from the store before the cops managed to get them out of the building.
These ever-so-brilliant suspects realized that they would be caught, so they figured they would call 911 and claim they found a dead body somewhere else in town and the police who were already set up outside and trying to get them out would just leave and let them walk away. That just got them another criminal charge out here in Bucks County.
According to reports, they tried to claim that they just randomly broke into that building because they were homeless. Sure. Stealing a truck, driving to a gun shop, getting at least some product out of the building, but it was just because you wanted to get warm? Oh, and there just happened to be drugs on them, too. Yeah, no jury here will buy that sh*t.
However, it turns out that neither one of these geniuses likely knows what it’s like facing a jury. Sure, they both have arrest records from Philadelphia, but the vast majority of their charges were nolle prossed.
One of the suspects appears to have quite the history with guns, as he was arrested for illegally carrying firearms at 15. He has a record that’s 4 pages long filled with many charges involving theft, burglary, and assault. Yet, this is the same city filled with people demanding more gun control. It’s clear that they aren’t making do with the laws they have, and now a suburban gun shop and neighboring stores are paying for those decisions not to prosecute.
Jan 28, 2015
See this local news story about a robbery that happened in North Philadelphia today:
There’s some speculation in the comments that it’s a replica, because the carry handle looks off. I agree it looks larger and differently shaped than any real AR-15 carry handle I’ve seen, so I’m open to the idea that it’s a replica. But that could also be a lensing effect on the camera making it look bigger than it really is. Other than that, it looks like the real deal to me, but I agree that carry handle and sight is off. What do you think?
Though, I do have to say, with that one handed grip, I don’t know how he thinks he could fight off a grab. That’s practically begging for a bolder store clerk to rip that AR right out of his hands. I don’t know if I’d have the guts to do it, but it’s certainly doable.
Aug 18, 2014
A Philadelphia Police Sergeant is under investigation by the department after he allegedly tried to anonymously turn in street guns that he obtained by “buying the weapons from neighborhood kids in an effort to get them off the streets.” His iterations may have been good, but the fact is that purchasing or taking possession of a handgun from someone who is not an FFL or your father or grandfather (or son or grandson) is a violation of Pennsylvania’s Uniform Firearms Act. A non-licensee can loan an officer, or someone with a PALTC a handgun, but if the firearm changes title, that’s a different ball of wax.
They wouldn’t cut you or me any slack if we got busted doing this. The officer in question seems to be in disbelief he’d be held to the same standard. Sorry Sergeant Ruff, but these are the “common sense” gun laws your Police Commissioner and Mayor support, and there’s no exception to the law for good intentions, and none for individual police.
Aug 18, 2014
A few years ago, a bar tab was discovered from a farewell dinner for George Washington, and it went around the Internet, stunning people with disbelief that any group of people could drink that much and still be able to walk home. Bitter was researching lineage societies in Philadelphia, and came across the St. Andrew’s Society of Philadelphia, for Pennsylvanians of Scottish birth or ancestry. I’m not really into joining lineage societies, but most of them keep genealogical records. Bitter came across this amusing account:
“At the Annual Dinner in 1762 Benjamin Franklin was one of the guests. It was reported that the [St. Andrew’s] Society was charged for replacing a considerable number of broken wine glasses and also for replacing three chairs, all reputedly broken by Mr. Franklin. A member of the Society subsequently waited upon Franklin and called to his attention the amount of damage he had caused. Mr. Franklin, however, far from offering to pay up, suggested he come to the next meeting to see how much more damage he could do. He apparently was a perennial guest at the Society’s annual dinners, but not the following year, when the members unanimously declined to extend an invitation!”
So I guess Dr. Franklin wasn’t the kind of guy you wanted to invite to dinner if the liquor was going to be relatively free flowing.
Jul 22, 2014
Remember two years ago when it came out that Philadelphia disclosed personal information about some license to carry applicants in violation of state law?
They were people who were initially denied licenses and were in the process of appealing the denial, and many of them seemed like highly questionable denials.
Well, several of those folks did call lawyers who worked to sue the city and ended up with a great settlement.
From Josh Prince, one of the four attorneys on the case:
…the City will pay $1.425 million to the class and will be separately responsible for the costs of administering the settlement… Further, and of similar importance, the City has agreed to a number of policy changes…:
- Not to disclose LTCF applicant information either electronically or in-person;
- Annual training of the Philadelphia Police Department and Philadelphia License and Inspection Board of Review on the confidentiality of LTCF applicant information;
- Customer service training for the Philadelphia Gun Permit Unit;
- Posting a copy of the LTCF Application Notice on its website and where LTCF applications and appeals can be submitted or obtained, as well as, providing a copy to anyone who has his/her LTCF denied or revoked;
- The City will not required references on the LTCF application and will not contact any references listed on the LTCF application;
- The City will not require lawful immigrants or US Citizens with a US Passport to provide naturalization papers;
- The City will not require any applicant to disclose whether he/she owns a firearm during the LTCF application process;
- The City will not deny an application because the applicant answered “no” to any question regarding whether the applicant had been charged/convicted of any crime where the applicant received a pardon or expungement from the charge or conviction;
- The City will process all LTCF applications within 45 calendar days;
- The City will remit $15.00 to any applicant who is denied within 20 days;
- The City will not require LTCF applicants or holders to disclose to law enforcement that they have an LTCF, that they are carrying a firearm or that they have a firearm in the vehicle; and
- The City will not confiscate an LTCF or firearm, unless there is probable cause that the LTCF or firearm is evidence of a crime. In the event an LTCF or firearm is confiscated, the officer must immediately provide a property receipt, which shall include the pertinent information
All of the attorneys in this case deserve huge kudos: Benjamin R. Picker, Jonathan Goldstein, Jon Mirowitz, and obviously, Josh Prince.
Jun 13, 2014
It seems that two armed robbers decided they needed more guns and robbed people coming out of a local shooting range (Delaware Valley Sports Center) to get them. Unfortunately, they also shot one of the victims as they were fleeing. Police also say that there was a robbery at another area gun shop the night before.
Be careful and extremely observant, shooters in the Philadelphia area. These people have more guns and ammunition, and they are clearly willing to shoot you if they think they can get more guns off of you.
I will say that this makes the private club Sebastian shoots at more appealing because there’s no easy access without having to closely follow a member in and no easy exit.
Nov 21, 2013
It is now illegal to hit “Print …” in Philadelphia, if the thing you loaded was a design for a firearm.
Which is interesting, because the author of the bill, Kenyatta Johnson, isn’t aware of of any local gun-printing 3-D printers. ”It’s all pre-emptive,” says Johnson’s director of legislation Steve Cobb. “It’s just based upon internet stuff out there.”
It’s not “preemptive,” it’s just stupid. It’s up there in terms of ignorance with burning witches. It’s not going to preempt anybody, because no one is going to be dissuaded from hitting “Print …” if they are seriously intending to cause harm. It is also quite arguably, and ironically, given Johnson’s quote, preempted by state law banning cities and local communities from regulating firearms.
It is not unusual for people who don’t understand new technology to be frightened by it. That goes double if you’re a politician. The same primitive fears of the unknown were responsible for all manner of laws when the automobile first appeared, or really any new technology first appeared on the scene. Life among the barbarians, I suppose.
Nov 11, 2013
Perhaps they heard the news that a 3D printed gun was made out of metal, using Selective Laser Sintering. This is an expensive process, outside the where the technology is as far as the hobbyist is concerned, but technology always gets cheaper. Though, Perhaps Philadelphia City Councilmen just sit around thinking of ways to screw the Second Amendment, when they aren’t busy allowing the city to continue to circle the bowl. Regardless of the motivation, Philadelphia City Council is looking to outlaw the 3D printing of guns.
“The prohibition that city ordinances can’t overcome as it relates to state legislation is primarily ownership, transfer of a firearm. This goes to manufacturing,” he said. “We’ve spoken with the Law Department. We believe that if there is a challenge in the court system, it will be something we’ll be able to defeat.”
This is true, but there’s another element of the UFA they are ignoring:
No political subdivision may bring or maintain an action at law or in equity against any firearms or ammunition manufacturer, trade association or dealer for damages, abatement, injunctive relief or any other relief or remedy resulting from or relating to either the lawful design or manufacture of firearms or ammunition or the lawful marketing or sale of firearms or ammunition to the public.
It could be argued that this only means that subdivisions can’t sue manufacturers, but I would argue this is further evidence the state intended to reserve this body of law for the state legislature. Another question is whether a prosecution would be considered an “action at law.”
Regardless, I would not expect this ordinance to necessarily to go down. As we’ve seen, Pennsylvania courts will do what they can to screw gun owners. We’ve seen it with the law against firearms registries that the courts have ruled does not actually prevent the state from running a registry, as long as they call it a record of sale. We’ve seen the courts ignore plain meaning when it comes to reciprocal licenses. So I don’t exactly have great faith the courts will do the right thing here.