Three teens are dead in Philadelphia (17 homicides in the first 12 days of 2012), and Mayor Michael Nutter is making headlines for strong words against the parents. He ranted that late on a Tuesday night, kids should have been in bed, getting ready for bed, or doing homework. They shouldn’t be driving around looking for fights and other trouble. A little shocked by his rant? Well, you won’t be shocked to know that the next thing he blamed was the lack of gun laws. But, that’s not actually the problem with why the shooter was on the streets:
Meanwhile, Eyewitness News has learned the suspect in the shooting, Axel Barreto, has a lengthy criminal record, including at least seven arrests since 2000, mostly for drugs. But on Saint Patrickâ€™s Day 2004, court records show Barreto was arrested for illegally possessing a gun, but those weapons charges didnâ€™t stick. …
They found him in possession of marijuana but also with a gun, which was illegal because he was already a convicted felon according to Tasha Jamerson, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Seth Williams.
Barreto was charged with five gun-related crimes, including trying to scrape off the serial number on the gun, but the charges were dropped six months later. His defense attorney at the time, Anthony Stefanski, says the judge ruled that police illegally searched Barreto that day without cause, so prosecutors were left with no evidence and little choice but to drop the charges. (emphasis added)
This guy committed at least five gun-related crimes in one incident. That’s not an indication of too few laws on the books. The reason this guy is on the street isn’t because the charges were too light, it’s because the police didn’t follow the law. There’s no gun law that will help Philadelphia if they conduct illegal searches so that all of the evidence of the search has to be thrown out in court. Hell, even an outright ban on possession by any civilian under any circumstance wouldn’t have put this guy behind bars since they found the gun in an illegal search.