A Pennsylvania Lesson

Jeff Soyer, who it looks like is a Pennsylvania gun blogger for today, also points out this Penn State Collegian article, by someone who I’m guessing is from my area:

Police rely heavily on databases when looking into gun ownership. Under the new bill, police would be forced to directly contact gun manufacturers in order to obtain gun ownership information. Time is a critical component when investigating crimes, especially those involving guns.

Registries are records of legal gun ownership. Are the gang members shooting it out on the streets of Philadelphia are registering their guns with police? I’m curious exactly how much the writer of this editorial knows about Pennsylvania law and the motivations for pushing this bill forward? It’s been in the making since the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ruled that the state law prohibiting registration of firearms within the Commonwealth didn’t actually mean what it said, and that the state police were fine with keeping a record of every gun sold within the commonwealth going back many years. There isn’t supposed to be a registry, yet the state has a record of every pistol I own, which can be obtained by punching my name into a database. Sound like a registry to you? Sounds like one to me.

According to philly.com, since the beginning of this year, Philadelphia has reported 136 homicides — more than New York City, a much larger metropolis. It’s more important than ever that police have an easily accessible record of gun owners.

Philadelphia has among the lowest rates of legal gun ownership in the Commonwealth, yet it has among the highest crime rate. Take Philadelphia out of the equation and Pennsylvania’s crime rates are roughly similar to Western Europe, yet the rest of the state is absolutely armed to the teeth, and issues more than 600,000 licenses to carry firearms. That’s 600,000 or more Pennsylvanians that have a license to carry a loaded handgun on their person in public, and all but 32,000 of them are outside of Philadelphia. It would seem to be that Philadelphia has a criminal problem, because if it was the guns, the rest of the state would be swimming in rivers of blood.

The concept of domestic violence became all too apparent in Centre County on April 8 when Benjamin Barone, 35, of Williamsport, lured his estranged wife to a Sheetz near Mill Hall and shot her, then killed himself. Jodi Barone, 36, of State College, had come to meet her husband where she expected to exchange custody of their three-year-old daughter.

It is a tragedy that Jodi Barone’s life was cut short because of a poor decision by her husband.

However, more lenient gun laws would not have helped the situation and will not aid other cases of domestic dispute.

And more strict gun laws would not have helped either. The guy was willing to murder someone. Do you think he would care whether he had a license to carry his gun?

Responsible gun owners understand they have no reason to worry about the government knowning about their firearms.

Ask responsible gun owners in New York whether they had anything to worry about when the city went around using their registration database to confiscate legally held and licensed firearms when they decided to make them illegal. Ask folks in California who had the same thing happen to them. I can point to a case of someone I’m familiar with in Pennsylvania who was involved in a self-defense incident and had his firearms confiscated by the Philadelphia police, who, last I checked, had still not returned them as they were legally required to do after charges were dropped. How did they know he had more guns? The registry the state police have been illegally keeping.

Talk to gun owners in our state sometime, before jumping to conclusions about what we do and don’t need to worry about.

3 thoughts on “A Pennsylvania Lesson”

  1. Related to previous discussions on what college CCW holders should do, there is also a story in the Collegian today (http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/2007/04/04-30-07tdc/04-30-07dnews-05.asp and http://www.centredaily.com/116/story/82819.html) about a kid who was carrying a gun on campus. Now, the gun itself was perfectly legal (as far as the state is concerned–this kid is a CCW holder), and he wasn’t that drunk by college standards (that is, that he wouldn’t have been charged for public drunkeness except for the fact that he argued with the police over his firearm).

    What is your understanding of what should have happened here? Can the police arrest someone who is breaking a university policy but not state law? Obviously he broke the university rules, so I can see him getting in trouble, but how does that make it possible for him to get arrested? Or perhaps the arrest was only possible because of the public drunkeness charge? What’s an “offensive weapons” charge?

    I suppose the best thing to do in this situation would have been to not get aggressive with the police and simply comply with their order to leave campus. Still though; seems somewhat ridiculous to be arrested for protesting when police start questioning you about a legally-carried concealed weapon.

  2. i dont feel safe anymore living in philadelphia i dont want to go outside by myself i am scared to go any where late at night

  3. I wouldn’t feel unsafe. Statistically, unless you’re in a gang or selling drugs on the street corner, you’re unlikely to be murdered. Most of the city is relatively safe.

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