Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Philadelphia and Gun Control

A bill currently before the Pennsylvania House of Representatives proposes limiting all state residents to the purchase of one handgun a month.

The Daily Pennsylvanian, the University of Pennsylvania's "independent" student newspaper, published an online editorial calling for state representatives and senators to back Bill 871. From the Article:

The epidemic of gun violence is reaching epic proportions, and yet Philadelphia is unable to act because the state government has tied its hands. Philadelphia cannot control the flow of handguns on its own streets because cities within Pennsylvania cannot enact stricter gun-control ordinances than those created in the state gun-control laws.

Philadelphia already has strict laws on firearms, and yet the laws are never strict enough.

These current laws allow unlimited purchasing of handguns. This means that "straw purchasers" can legally purchase handguns in bulk and then unlawfully and lucratively transfer the weapons to gun traffickers or other criminals who would not have been able to pass a background check to buy the handgun in the first place or who want to avoid detection. Bulk purchases of guns go unchecked, creating an ample, steady and inexpensive supply of illegal guns for trafficking -- 46 percent of guns used in crime come from these illegal transactions.

First off, buying a handgun with the intent to resell them illegally is, well, illegal, and such criminals should be prosecuted under the full extent of the law. As for believing that a purchase limit would impede the flow of guns to criminals, don't kid yourself.

Under the "One Handgun Per Month" legislation, individuals will only be able to purchase a handgun once every 30 days, providing exception for parties with a need for more guns each month, like gun collectors and law-enforcement agencies. This should ensure that unfair restrictions are not placed on anyone needing multiple guns each month for legitimate reasons.

Strange how the legislation doesn't include "self-defense" as a legitimate reason to buy more than one handgun at a time. Beyond that, the legislation punishes the rest of the state at the whim of Philadelphia politicians.

This legislation does not represent an attack against the right to bear arms. It gives cities in Pennsylvania the ability to control the flow of illegal handguns on its streets, not to deny individuals the right to own a handgun.

The hell it isn't an attack on the right to keep and bear arms. The law will do little to stop gun violence, and only make it more annoying for legitimate citizens to arm themselves.


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