Philadelphia wants more gun control while ignoring laws on the books

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney recently decided to unilaterally ban firearms in rec centers and public parks. He lacks the authority to actually do that, but he did it anyway. It spawned the inevitable legal challenge.

Yet officials in the City of Brotherly Love have long advocated for more and more gun control. They routinely argue that they need to be able to pass local anti-gun ordinances to combat the city’s growing violent crime issue.

And yet, it seems they’re not bothering to enforce laws already on the books.

While some local officials want stricter gun laws, existing gun laws have not been enforced in recent years. As The Center Square previously reported, Philadelphia has seen fewer gun-related cases go to trial or end in a guilty verdict compared to the state average.

When looking at noelle pros cases, where the state does not pursue a gun-related case, Philadelphia has gone from 7% in 2015 to 21% in 2020. The statewide average during the same time increased from 7% to 12%.

Though state law prevents more gun control laws locally, Philadelphia’s choice not to enforce gun laws already on the books is a local decision.

Now, I don’t actually have an issue with a municipality opting not to enforce gun control laws in and of itself. As someone who thinks most gun control laws are unconstitutional, it would be kind of hypocritical of me to take issue with such a thing.

What I do have an issue with, though, is for a city to be tripping over itself to try and create new gun control rules, like Philadelphia is doing, while refusing to prosecute people for laws already on the books.

It’s clear that the city isn’t interested in preserving the right to keep and bear arms. They’re not refusing to prosecute those gun cases because Philadelphia officials oppose the gun control laws in the first place. It’s not like the city is angling to become a Second Amendment sanctuary.

No, they’re just not enforcing those laws because…well, I don’t actually know why.

The tinfoil-hat-wearing side of me can’t help but look at this refusal to prosecute gun cases as an attempt to drive up the violent crime rate in hopes it can be used to leverage the state into killing preemption. Refusing to prosecute people for breaking existing gun laws when you believe gun control prevents crime suggests there’s some kind of nefarious reason at work here.

The other side of me figures one should never ascribe something to malice that can easily be explained by incompetence.

Philadelphia wants gun control. They approve of gun control. They like it.

But before inflicting it on literally everyone else in the state because of their own problems, maybe they should step up and enforce the existing laws before claiming they’re simply not enough to deal with those issues.

That’s not how this works.

Unfortunately, that’s how Philly is spinning it and there are plenty of anti-gunners out there who won’t look at this with even an eye twitch. They’re so deep in the Kool-Aid that they can’t imagine any reason not to push still more gun control.

For most people, though, a failure to enforce current law is ample reason to hold firm against new gun control measures.