Support for Gun-Control Initiatives

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 04/26/2008 - 2:21pm.

Despite last week's court ruling blocking the enforcement of new gun-control measures in Philadelphia, some faculty, students and city residents are still calling for what they call "common-sense" firearm laws.  

The proposed measures, signed into law by Mayor Nutter earlier this month, would limit individuals to one firearm purchase per month, require that owners report lost or stolen guns within 24 hours, ban the possession of automatic weapons and prohibit persons with an order of protection against them and persons deemed dangerous from possessing firearms.

"They seem like common-sense, what are you doing with a gun that requires a new one every month?" Philadelphia native and College freshman Suzanna Connell said.

The measures were unanimously passed in City Council and signed into law on April 10, just days after similar legislation was defeated in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

"The tension here arises from the use of a rural majority in the legislature at the state level, and a big city population that has a very different culture," Lawrence Sherman, director of Penn's Jerry Lee Center of Criminology, said.

Philadelphia's laws were drafted largely in response to an outcry from city residents.

"When a city like Philadelphia tries to use its democratic process to self-govern they can't," Sherman said. "It's part of a state government that won't allow it."

Shortly after the measures were signed into law, the National Rifle Association, in conjunction with two local gun store owners, filed a lawsuit, questioning the city government's authority to legislate guns. A Philadelphia judge sided with the NRA, blocking enforcement of the laws.

Sherman, who is currently lecturing in Wales, said he believes that in order to make "any kind of change" Philadelphia must be able to make its own laws, separate from that of the state legislature.

England and Wales have strict gun-control laws, and their murder rate is 27 times lower than that of Philadelphia, Sherman said.

"Ironically there's more violence but far fewer people get killed because they're all fist fights," he added

Lifelong West Philadelphia resident Latisha Moore, 27, said she believes that if it weren't for Philadelphia's lack of gun control, the father of her child wouldn't be sitting behind bars for murder.

"He never had a gun," Moore said. "He only got one because everyone else has them."

The father of Moore's three-year-old son shot and killed another man in self-defense while under the influence of alcohol, according to Moore.

But some still remain wary of gun control's ability to prevent crime.

"If you just outlaw guns in Philadelphia, the people that use guns for illegal things are going to be the ones that still get the guns," Connell said.

Thomas Himes - THE DAILY PENNSYLVANIAN - April 25, 2008 - posted at www.politico.com/news/

Thomas Himes reports for The Daily Pennsylvanian, and partners with Campus Politico for the 2008 elections.

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 04/26/2008 - 2:21pm.