Nine Philadelphia-area Republicans signaled last week they would break ranks with their caucus today and support handgun-control legislation when the state House of Representatives resumes debate on a controversial proposal.Ah, yes--the increasingly popular notion of imposing legal obligations on victims of crime. Brilliant--and even Republicans can get behind it.
The measure, which would require reporting handguns that are lost or stolen, has been vigorously pushed by Democrats in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh as a "common sense" restriction that would reduce gun violence.
Some of those Republicans even openly admit that such laws will do nothing to reduce violent crime--but why let that stop them?
Nine local Republicans also said they would vote for the proposal. Some said they would do so in response to their constituents, who polls show overwhelmingly support the measure. Others said they were not convinced the reporting requirement would work but thought something must be done.It won't work, but we have to do something--why not this?
Many Philadelphia-area Republicans, however, said lawmakers had to do something about crimes involving guns, even if the legislation was imperfect.Well that certainly explains your "yes" vote.
"There is interest in gun-control legislation that has the reporting requirement because gun violence has affected the people that I represent," said Rep. Kate Harper (R., Montgomery).
Rep. John Perzel (R., Phila.) said he would vote for the measure but doubted its usefulness.
"I don't know if it will get any illegal guns off the streets," Perzel said. "I don't believe it will have any effect."
Rep. John Taylor (R., Phila.) said he, too, was a "yes" vote, but he said he was concerned about the potential consequences for law-abiding citizens who fail to report their weapons and who could face criminal charges.Concerned about the consequences, but not sufficiently concerned to protect your constituents from this abomination, I see.
"There is enough sentiment out there that this will really impact regular Joes and that the crackhead going to make straw purchases isn't going to be affected in the least."
But, Taylor added, "We have a big enough problem in Philly that I'll try anything."Ah--back to the "It won't work (and does a number on rights), but we have to do something--anything--to at least appear to the voters as if we're on top of violent crime.
As War on Guns points out (and has done so before), such laws can only be enforced against people who can legally own guns (that would be us regular, peaceable citizens), because the Fifth Amendment would protect a felon from a requirement to incriminate himself by reporting the loss or theft of a gun that he owned illegally.
I've said before what I will do if such a law passes in Illinois (a depressingly very real possibility): the day it goes into effect, I'll report every piece of ordnance I own as lost. After that, every time I buy a gun, I'll report it as lost, as well. If a few tens of thousands of gun owners do that, maybe even the geniuses who support such measures will start to figure out how useless they are.
P.S., and utterly unrelated (except for the involvement of gun rights/gun laws)--from War on Guns, I've discovered that I'm famous. OK--that's obviously an enormous exaggeration, but it's still kind of rarefied air for a lowly, insignificant (and somewhat intermittent, lately) blogger like me.