Nope, outside of the city.
Could you paste the article, I'm getting a registration page...
So am I.
Sorry but I saw it the 1st time.
Posted on Mon, May. 23, 2005
Gun-violence panelist: Issue goes beyond city
By G.W. MILLER III
FIVE PEOPLE were shot and killed in York, Pa., during one week in March. During the first three months of the year, 72 people were killed by gunfire in Philadelphia.
So on March 31, Gov. Rendell created a commission to address gun violence in the state.
He selected Walter Phillips, a 10th-generation Philadelphian and former federal prosecutor, to chair the bipartisan, 26-member group.
Phillips is now a defense attorney who represents Bill Cosby in his current sexual-assault civil case and who also chairs the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
Last Monday, the commission presented its findings to the governor.
Later in the week, Phillips spoke with the Daily News about the commission's report and what members believe needs to happen in the state to reduce gun violence.
Q. Did the commission members see gun violence as an urban issue,
specifically a Philadelphia problem?
A. I think that they recognized that gun violence is more than just a Philadelphia or Pittsburgh issue. Certainly the majority, if not all of the commission, recognized that gun violence is a statewide problem that we have to address.
Q. Even though several people on the commission declined to vote on the report?
A. There were abstentions from the entire report by Sen. Robert Robbins, R-Crawford; by Rep. Dennis O'Brien, R-Philadelphia, and also by the attorney general, yet they participated in all of the meetings of the commission.
They agreed on almost everything that was set forth in the report. So I was disappointed, to say the least, and somewhat mystified as to why they then turned around and abstained from voting on the entire report.
Q. Does the legislators' backing off, along with the NRA's statement to the commission, signify anything about the state?
A. The entire commission backed off specifically recommending one-gun-per-month legislation. but the majority of members of the commission would recommend one gun per month [consumer-purchase limit].
The NRA's arguments are specious when it comes to one gun per month.
First of all, they say that it's a violation of a person's Second Amendment right to bear arms. Well, the Unites States Supreme Court addressed that issue in 1939, when they said that the Second Amendment applies to state-owned and -operated militia, it does not apply to individuals.
Then the NRA says that it will inhibit gun competitors, people who need to have three guns to compete. They need a .22, .38 and a .45, but if they can only buy one gun per month, they can't start competing for three months. Well, I say make an exception. Let them buy three guns in one month and none the next three.
The most ludicrous argument they make is likening one-gun-per-month to limiting a golfer to one club per month.
I don't know of any history of killings with golf clubs.
Q. What about the NRA's argument that new state laws would duplicate what is already covered under federal laws?
A. There is an overlapping of the state criminal statutes and the federal criminal statutes.
Federal criminal statutes currently have much harsher penalties attached to them. One of the things we recommend is to increase state criminal sanctions for either the illegal possession or use of a gun.
We have an advantage called SAP - state alternative prosecution. If somebody is arrested for illegal possession of a gun, we can offer that person to plead guilty in state court and receive a far less severe sentence than they would if they were prosecuted in federal court.
If they refuse to enter a plea and dispose of the case quickly, then you send the case to federal court and they end up getting an average of nine years.
To plead guilty takes a lot less time and a lot less money than a jury trial.
Q. Would allowing Philadelphia and other municipalities the ability to draft their own gun laws, as the commission suggests, impact gun violence in those areas?
A. They could have very stringent gun-control laws, their own one-gun-per-month laws, without affecting the neighboring counties or the rest of the state.
That's the part that I think doesn't make any sense: why there is any objection to allowing Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, or other cities as well, to have a referendum for the people of those cities to vote to decide whether they want to have strict gun-control laws.
It's not going to interfere one iota with deer hunters in other parts of the state.
Q. Is there anything that the citizens of the city can do?
A. The citizens of the city should put a lot of pressure on the legislators, particularly those from the city. And that would include state Rep. O'Brien.
I think the people of Philadelphia really need to let Rep. O'Brien know how they feel about gun violence in the city - that the city should be allowed to have its own laws - and that there should be a one-gun-per-month law on the books for the entire state.
If they start to make calls, send e-mails and letters to him, he might start feeling the pressure.
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