Friday, March 25, 2005

Ferrick, Baer and our State Reps on Guns in Philly

Today, Tom Ferrick discusses guns in Philly, and asks what lawmakers are going to do to "... stop this river of blood." His column comes on the heels of a meeting with Mayor Street and Governor Rendell, where, among other things, they proposed to limit sales of handguns in PA to one a month. Why is this so important? Because so-called straw buyers buy ten, twenty, thirty handguns a month in Philly, and then sell them on the street for a hefty mark up. They sell them to criminals, to kids, etc.

It all seems common sense. It doesn't hurt hunters, whose rights I very much respect, because while Hunters use rifles and shotguns, drug dealers would find them hard to hide in their jacket. Criminals need handguns, hunters don't, or at least don't need more than one a month.

From his column:

Rendell said the one-handgun-a-month limit was a reasonable step. After all, he said, who needs more than one handgun a month? Or, if you are married, 24 in a year?

"We have to take a mature and sensible look at these issues," he said.

I thought: Uh-oh, he's counting on the state legislature to be mature and sensible? Then this idea is in trouble.

Pennsylvania is the land of the gun lobby, which worships the gun god. It's a religion, see, and a central tenet of the faith is: No gun-control legislation. Period.

Not even a "mature and sensible" idea such as limiting handgun purchases to one a month.


Rendell said the next step is to get together with the Philadelphia delegation in the legislature to see whether members will support the handgun-sale limit or a law to give Philly the right to approve its own antigun measures.

Two legislators key to the success or failure of these measures are Philadelphia Republicans: House Speaker John Perzel and Rep. Dennis O'Brien, chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

They are the guys with the power to make these ideas work - or they could (if you will excuse the expression) shoot them down.

Let's see what they do to stop this river of blood.
Unfortunately, if you want to see what exactly the State legislature is going to do, I refer you to two items from yesterday's Daily News.

First, a column by John Baer, who advises:

There'll be no help from the state Legislature.

Forget common sense arguments about how restricting gun purchases helps get guns off city streets without hurting hunters or how allowing the city its own gun laws impact the rest of the state.

When it comes to guns, Pennsylvania is beyond common sense. It's in the ionosphere. Its opposition to gun control, any gun control, is legendary and ongoing. It knows neither compromise nor retreat.

See how Congress rushed to Washington to "protect" life in the Terri Schiavo case?

The Legislature would rush to Harrisburg to protect guns.

And for the same reasons.

It's an issue of political chest-thumping with big political payoffs.
And, if you have any doubts as to whether Baer is right, check out a letter to the editor from from a few of Philly's glorious State Reps. Their answer, amidst all this carnage? To pat themselves on the back for all they have done.

We understand these programs and additional money will not alone solve the problem of violence in our city, but we believe it is a step in the right direction to stop the killing of our young people and children.
Thanks for all your help!

Yeah, I don't think help is coming any time soon on this issue.


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