Remember way back to yesterday, when I wrote about the Driving Equality Policy. I mentioned how it will lead to anarchy and lawlessness. Never mind all that, because a vastly more important ordinance was just overruled by three Commonwealth judges.
The city has a long-standing ordinance stating if you lose your firearm, or if it is stolen, you must report it to the police. The reason for this is obvious. If someone’s firearm is out on the street, and someone uses it to shoot someone, the owner can at least plead his innocence. It’s also handy to know how many lost/stolen guns are on the street, considering we had 562 murders last year.
A Philadelphia ordinance that requires gun owners to tell police when a firearm has been lost or stolen was ruled illegal Monday by a state court, with one of the judges who voted to throw out the law lamenting that their ruling would put people’s lives at risk.
A three-judge Commonwealth Court panel ruled unanimously against the city law and issued a permanent injunction, saying the state Uniform Firearms Act preempts it. Philadelphia Police had sought a $2,000 fine against a man charged with violating the lost-and-stolen reporting mandate.
This is a devastating ruling. From here on out, we will have no idea how many lost or stolen guns are on the street. Similarly, we will not be able to track straw purchasers; those who buy a gun and pass it off to one of the random thugs. This will also make it more difficult to link a firearm with a shooter. In short, homicides are going to skyrocket.
One of the three Commonwealth Court jurists who ruled against the city ordinance on Monday, Senior Judge Bonnie Brigance Leadbetter, urged the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to reconsider that 1996 legal standard and to allow local restrictions “narrowly tailored to local necessities.”
“The overwhelming blight of gun violence occurring in the City of Philadelphia, of which I believe we can take judicial notice, and the policy issues argued by the city in the case before us, call for a recognition that local conditions may well justify more severe restrictions than are necessary statewide,” Leadbetter wrote.
She said it violates the fundamental right to life and liberty when children can’t walk on a street near their homes without the risk of being shot.
Normally, I am not a fan of judges, but Leadbetter makes good points. Overruling an ordinance like this in a Podunk little town wouldn’t be a problem. Overturning an ordinance like this in one of the most violent cities in America? It will result in piles and piles of dead bodies.