On 18 February 2009, The Intelligencer published an editorial calling for and end to state-wide preemption of firearm laws. The editorial can be found here.
We also know that more laws won’t necessarily produce the desired effect of significantly reducing gun violence, and that those who do obey the law will have issues with yet more laws.
However, what’s been tried so far in the city hasn’t worked. And as with so many problems confronting the commonwealth, it doesn’t make sense to think that a one-size-fits-all gun law will be effective in a state that is hardly one-size-fits-all when it comes to anything.
My response was published on 5 March 2009:
I wish you would reconsider the conclusion that you reached in your recent editorial “Give the City a Chance.” You argue that the larger municipalities in the state should be able to enact their own.
The statewide preemption of gun laws is necessary to protect the right guaranteed by Article 1, Section 21 of the , “The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.”
In addition to being unconstitutional, such laws do nothing to prevent crime. As your own comments state, and a 2003 CDC study reported, “The Task Force found insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws or combinations of laws reviewed on violent outcomes.” Such laws would not have prevented the recent murders of Philadelphia Police Officers Pawlowski, McDonald, and Liczbinski were all killed by convicted felons with long criminal histories who never should have been released from prison. Their murders were not deterred by the federal prohibition against felons owning firearms, and would not be deterred by further restrictions.
The way to prevent further tragedies is to keep the criminally dangerous locked up in prison, not to further restrict the rights of those living in the high crime areas, who are most exposed to the dangerous elements of our society.