Defense of Philadelphia gun ‘laws’ based on hilariously shaky argument

Yesterday was supposed to have been the day for the hearing to determine the legality (or lack thereof) of what I like to call the “Nutter Package”–the restrictive gun “laws” passed last month by the Philadelphia City Council and signed by Mayor Nutter. I said “supposed to have been the day,” because that’s not how it turned out.

A Philadelphia Common Pleas judge this morning ordered attorneys for the city and the National Rifle Association to condense into writing by tomorrow morning what might have been testimony for a two- or three-day evidentiary hearing this week in the battle over five local gun control laws enacted last month.

The judge apparently isn’t interested in sitting through Philadelphia’s “dog and pony show” (as NRA attorney C. Scott Shields referred to it) designed to advance the argument that “state constitution be damned–we need more gun laws!”

What I hadn’t realized until reading the second link was just what argument Philadelphia planned to use to get around the indisputable fact that the Pennsylvania state constitution explicitly preempts the power to enact gun laws to the state, rather than cities. The argument is even more ridiculous than I had thought.

The city concedes that the state regulates lawful firearm ownership, but says the local laws are meant to control the illegal possession of firearms by criminals.

This clearly makes no sense whatsoever–hell, one of the “laws,” the ban of so-called “assault weapons,” bans a class of firearms that is perfectly legal to own under state law. How is that not “regulat(ing) lawful firearm ownership”? In fact, all five of the “laws” criminalize aspects of what under state law is lawful firearm ownership.

If that’s the best argument they can come up with, they should be laughed out of court.

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