Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

What a year, huh? The city of Philadelphia is once again challenging state of Pennsylvania’s preemption law. Last time around, they tried a “home rule city” tactic. That failed.

This time the approach is a little different.

Philadelphia city leaders are again filing a court challenge to the state’s prohibition on municipal gun regulations, this time joined by families of gun violence victims in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

The city, along with the Ceasefire Pennsylvania Education Fund and 10 family members, filed the lawsuit in Commonwealth Court on Wednesday, asking a judge to find that the state’s Firearms Preemption laws violate Pennsylvanians’ right to life under the state Constitution. The lawsuit seeking to clear the path for stricter municipal firearms regulations comes as a surge in gun violence has sent Philadelphia’s homicide rate to the highest level in more than a decade.

Given state Attorney General Josh Shapiro‘s own long-standing taste for Second Amendment violations, I suspect the real action in this case will be in the third party amicus briefs to the court. I have a few suggestions for those.

Perhaps the Firearms Policy Coalition could take note of the high number number of repeat offenders in Philadelphia’s criminal community, and ask how the city would suddenly persuade these crooks to start complying with their wished-for stricter gun control regime.

The Gun Owners of America might also note the repeaters, and point out that ending the city’s catch and release law enforcement policy would do far more to protect the right to life than new rules making it more difficult for honest, law-abiding citizens to defend themselves.

The Second Amendment Foundation might point out that state preemption keeps gun regulation uniform across the state. Yet somehow Philadelphia’s violent crime rate — operating under the same gun control laws — is three times the state average. Those gun laws in effect in the rest of the state aren’t the problem elsewhere; shouldn’t they be looking to see what else the city is doing wrong?

And just for once, the ACLU (I know) could set aside its distaste for the Second Amendment and consider the potential precedent of local jurisdictions making up laws as they go. They could raise the problems that presents under the equal protection clause, and ask how Pennsylvanians’ rights should differ based upon geographical location.

But expecting the ACLU to step in on a constitutional basis on behalf of rational gun regulation is just kooky talk.

20 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t think this was pointed out. Based on this “right to Life” argument, then wouldn’t that mean all abortions would have to be banned as well?

  2. Once again there is no such thing as “Gun Violence”. To even use that term is to demonstrate a fundamental cognitive failure in the person using it.

    Humans do violence. Animals do violence. Those are the only types of violence that exist. Be it a sharp stick or a thermo-nuclear bomb in a human’s hands or control, or the teeth and claws of a wild beast, only a living being can do an act of violence.

    All claims to the contrary are a form of cognitive dissonance fueled by Hoplophobia and rank stupidity.

    Other than that, there are surely times when lower levels of government closer to the people should push back at overly authoritarian and divorced from reality proclamations from higher levels of government. Dealing with these cases where local government is actually stupider and more screwed up than higher government is the noise and confusion we must deal with in a free and healthy representative democracy.

    Also knows as a Republic 🙂

  3. The aclu quit pretending they were about civil liberties a long time ago. They are the lefts version of wlp’s NRA. Totally corrupt.

    • That’s a great way to put it. But sadly. The ACLU members either don’t care or they agree with the leadership. And it makes me question the average ACLU member. NRA members on the other hand. Have walked away for the organization. In numbers large enough to hurt the organization.

  4. I don’ think the City will get past the State’s Sovereign immunity, the absence of a duty to enact particular legislation, or the absence of a duty to protect individuals. The City is simply raising a political question that the Court will refuse to address. This should be pretty short lived.

  5. “Killing is a matter of will, not weapons.
    You cannot control the act itself
    by passing laws about the means employed.” …..1958. the late Col Jeff Cooper, handgun expert and founder of Gunsite Academy.

    A politician with a law never stops a bad guy with a gun.
    He only controls the good guys which is his true agenda.

    A legislator with a bill is far more dangerous to the populace as a whole than a citizen….good or bad….with a gun. The bad guy with a gun poses short term danger. The politician’s danger grows constantly and lasts forever. A bad guy with a gun can always be shot by a good guy with a gun. A politician…not so much so…yet.

    The bad guy with a gun…..or the mentally deficient guy with a gun……or the TERRIBLY DISTRAUGHT FAMILY MEMBER OF A GUN SHOOTING VICTIM…….or the Feelz-Gooder Social Do-Gooder….. or the the “hair-on-fire, we’re-all-gonna-die” contingent……are the politician’s easily manipulated Useful Idiot Tools to achieve his power and control agenda.

  6. I think its about time people see thru the propaganda the gun grabbers use, and that is by banning guns crime will disappear.

    The only reason these communists, and they are communists, want guns banned is so they can increase the power of the state over the citizen. And if they cannot achieve their goal on a national level they will chip away at it on a city by city or state basis.

    History is your teacher. In every Totalitarian state all guns in civilian hands are banned, except a hunting shotgun perhaps.

  7. Philly is already in violation of the State Preemption law by refusing to honor state issued concealed carry licenses, insisting on a city permit to carry in addition to the state license.

    • Wut?? I carry wherever in Philadelphia. The Commowealth say I can; read the statutes through-and-through. Have not heard about a city carry permit. Never looked into it because of the Commonwealth’s preemption laws. So, all this time I have been risking arrest? Another reason to stay away.

      • No, there is no separate license for the City of Philadelphia.

        State law requires an LTCF for all carry in Philadelphia and only certain forms of carry in the rest of the state; concealed, in a vehicle, during a declared state of emergency.

        The other difference is that it isn’t the county sheriff that issues the state license to carry, it is the Gun Permits Unit.

        So I guess if these guys can raise a constitutional right to life in order to strike down preemption, then they should be able to also get the courts to strike down all gun laws based on the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

  8. This is what the PA State Constitution says about gun laws in the state:

    § 21. Right to bear arms.
    The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of
    themselves and the State shall not be questioned.

    Therefore all municipal laws restricting the carry of firearms are unconstitutional and illegal. Of course we can’t count on Joshie and the state supreme court to pay any attention to it.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here