Philadelphia to get some partners in crime

It seems that several Pennsylvania mayors, encouraged by Philadelphia’s defiance of state law (which I’ve discussed before) prohibiting municipalities from arbitrarily enacting citizen disarmament laws of their own, have pledged to follow Philly into criminality.

Members of the coalition, PA Mayors for Gun Safety, pledged to introduce legislation in their cities that would require gun owners to report lost or stolen weapons or be subject to possible fines and/or jail time.

The announcement was made at a news conference at City Hall here. The group includes Mayor Nutter and the mayors of Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, Lancaster, Reading, Pottsville and York.

What makes this illegal, of course, is that Pennsylvania law preempts local power to enact gun laws–authority to infringe on that which shall not be infringed belongs solely to the state (what gives the state the right to control the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental, absolute human right of the individual to keep and bear arms is a discussion for another day).

As the quoted passage indicates, the “law” in question here is the requirement for victims of theft to report the theft of their guns, or face prosecution themselves.

Philadelphia’s Mayor Nutter explains why he thinks preemption doesn’t prohibit such laws:

Nutter argued that the state legislation that limits the power of local governments to pass gun legislation governs “lawful weapons.” The legislation proposed by the mayors’ coalition involves “lost or stolen weapons,” Nutter said.

This is clearly idiotic–a lawfully purchased and owned weapon doesn’t suddenly cease to be lawful if it becomes lost. Likewise, if such a gun is stolen, its lawful owner is still the owner (and by the way, this law could only be enforced against people who owned guns legally–to require someone who owns a gun illegally to report that fact would violate the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination).

When a governing body enacts laws illegally, the rule of law is clearly dead. That makes it a bit difficult to imagine how these cities can expect their “laws” to be respected.

Snowflakes in Hell has more.


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