Philadelphia Gun Bills

In my last post, I mentioned the Philadelphia City Council was preparing to defy the Commonwealth’s preemption laws and pass their own laws that further regulate firearms. I have tracked down the text of the most onerous of these bills.

Bill No. 070348 “Reporting Requirements Upon the Application for or Renewal of a License to Carry a Firearm”

The name, address, occupation, place of birth of the applicant, date and hour of the application, the caliber, length of barrel, make, model and manufacturer’s number of and type of all guns at the home, business or any other property leased, owned by the applicant or under the control or access of the applicant, at the time of the application.

This information would have to be submitted every year for which you are licensed. Any changes, such as purchase or aquisition of a new firearm, disposition or sale, must be reported to the Philadelphia Police within 30 days.

I have to ask City Council, whether these rules which only apply to people who hold a License to Carry Firearms, are going to affect crime, given that the people shooting it out on the street corner do not have license to carry their guns? This only applies to the law abiding, which we can guarantee since LTC holders must be free of any criminal record.

Bill No. 070345 “Contraband Weapons, Accessories and Ammunition”

In particular, certain paramilitary assault weapons have become the weapons of choice of those engaged in drug trafficking and other enterprises of organized crime. The threat to the lives of Philadelphia police officers has become particularly acute as a result of this on-going trend.

I’m willing to bet this is pure unadulterated bullshit. We know that long guns of all types are used in less than two percent of crime. Assault weapons only constitute a fraction of one percent. They have never been the criminal’s weapon of choice. That, without a doubt, is the handgun.

No person shall own, use, possess or transfer any contraband weapon, accessory or ammunition; provided however, that any person who, prior to the effective date of this Section, was legally in possession of a weapon or device prohibited by this Section shall have thirty (30) days from the effective date of this Section to do any of the following without being subject to prosecution hereunder;
(a) remove said contraband weapon, accessory and/or ammunition from within the City limits of Philadelphia; or
(b) modify said contraband weapon, accessory and/or ammunition to either render it permanently inoperable or to permanently make it a device no longer defined as contraband under this Section; or
(c) surrender it to the Police Department.

No grandfathering, no compensation, no exceptions. It’s good to see the city isn’t just crapping all over the right to bear arms provisions in the State Constitution. Why only violate one right, when you can get two for the price of one? The ban is basically a mirror of HR1022, Carolyn McCarthy’s ban. It bans firearms based solely on cosmetic features.

Bill No. 070344 “Straw and Multiple Handgun Purchase Reduction” to limit purchases of handguns by Philadelphia residents to one a month, and to prohibit “straw purchases” of handguns utilized by criminals for the purpose of evading the one handgun a month limitation; all under certain terms and conditions.

Yeah, because the 300 dollar find and 90 days the city provides in jail will deter the criminal when the laws against murder, aggravated assault, rape, and robbery, all felonies with lengthy jail times, don’t.

Lots of “whereas” in this bill

Whereas, According to the ATF, over 22% of guns used in crime nationally, and 51% of guns used in crime with eliminated serial numbers, come from multiple handgun sales; in addition, “straw purchases” account for 46% of guns used in crime; and

I’ve heard a lot of statistics, but I’ve never heard this one. Does anyone have any idea where they got these statistics? From the ATF, no doubt, but I’ve never seen these numbers from the ATF. Someone with some time ought to try to dig them up.

Whereas, In the Philadelphia assault weapons ban case of Ortiz et al vs. the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania et al, 545 Pa. 279, 681 A.2d 152 (1996), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that municipalities are strictly limited by the Pennsylvania General Assembly regarding the regulation of the possession, sale and transfer of firearms; and

Whereas, The statutory limitations of municipalities to regulate the possession, sale and transfer of firearms, as upheld by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, has been duly incorporated within the body of this legislation along with the paramount and legitimate interests of the public safety of the citizens of our City and the Commonwealth; now, therefore

So basically, even though state government has made it illegal for the city to regulate firearms, and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has upheld that, we’re going to go ahead and do it anyway. I guess this is what passes for rule of law in Philadelphia.

Under definitions:

(c) Straw Purchaser: Any person who conducts or attempts to conduct a gun purchase on behalf of another person.

That’s not what a straw purchaser is federally. And even though state law makes it a crime to transfer a handgun privately, it does make an exception for immediate family members.

The interesting thing is they exempted C&R holders, which surprised me. I didn’t think the city council members really understood the gun laws enough to make that exception.

Here’s where it gets really onerous:

No licensed importer, licensed manufacturer or licensed dealer shall sell or deliver any handgun to another person, other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer or licensed collector, unless he has:
(1) obtained a 30 day eligibility report from the City of Philadelphia Police Department; and
(2) forwarded a copy of the completed application/record of sale from the potential buyer or transferee to the City of Philadelphia Police Department, postmarked via first class mail, within 14 days of the sale.

Nothing in the law says how long the city can take to issue this 30 day eligibility report. It’s basically a defacto waiting period. Since there’s no requirement that the police process these in a timely manner, and a firearm may not be transferred without this report, the police could ban firearms in the city by not processing the application.

Also this:

The receipt of applications/records of sale which indicate that a purchaser or transferee has obtained more than one handgun in any 30 day period shall constitute prima facie evidence that the multiple handgun purchaser is involved in the trafficking of handguns. The City of Philadelphia Police Department shall thereafter commence a criminal investigation to determine the extent, if any, of criminal activities committed by the multiple handgun purchaser.

And the city wonders why the state preempts them from making their own gun laws. And they wonder why we consider one gun a month schemes to be unreasonable. Seriously, this is what reasonable gun laws are in Philadelphia? If these pass out of City Council, I will be sure to contact that state Attorney General, to make sure their office will remind the city that it may not enforce these ordinances.

The media keeps mentioning eight bills. I could only find these. If the other ones are out there, I haven’t been able to find them.