Philly mayor called out over anti-preemption push

Philly mayor called out over anti-preemption push
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

We here at Bearing Arms are in favor of preemption. We know that not everyone is, but we are.

After all, if every city has its own set of gun control laws, it’s difficult for anyone to keep up with each municipality’s rules. Someone’s going to get in trouble for missing something and that should never happen.


Yet, the truth is that the places that most oppose preemption are larger cities. They want to make their own rules and pass their own gun control laws over and above what’s already on the books.

Philadelphia is a prime example. The mayor there is pushing for an end to preemption, even trying to challenge the law in court.

And someone’s willing to call him out for it, too.

On September 13, Mayor Jim Kenney’s website released an account of the city’s court action before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The city believes the Firearms Preemption Laws, which prohibit municipalities from enacting laws to address gun violence, are unconstitutional.

“Today, the City of Philadelphia, with co-petitioners, the CeaseFirePA Education Fund, and individuals affected by gun violence in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, alongside co-counsel Hogan Lovells and the Public Interest Law Center, made its oral argument before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in the case of Crawford v. Commonwealth, which challenges the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s Firearms Preemption laws,” the press release stated.

But ask any cop, and they will tell you that gun violence truly comes from predatory criminals armed with illegally acquired guns, which they employ with reckless abandon. Gun control advocates like Mayor Kenney, who want to enact anti-gun legislation at the municipal level, cannot, or will not, differentiate between legally owned guns and illegal ones used by criminals in brutal criminal actions.

“Look at what happened this weekend,” one angry cop said to me. “There are shootouts all over the city, and people are killed. The mayor wants the right to make more anti-gun laws, his so-called common sense gun laws, but they will not make a bit of difference to the bad guys sporting illegal guns and mowing down other bad guys and innocent bystanders.”

The cop shook his head and said the mayor is dreaming if he thinks he can stop gun violence with city gun control laws.



Preemption may hamstring lawmakers to some degree, but their problems aren’t because of preemption. After all, if laws against shooting people haven’t dissuaded them from shooting people, it’s silly to think that laws restricting guns will have any kind of impact.

Few criminals obtain firearms through legal means–and I only say “few” because there are bound to be a few examples to the contrary, but it’s far from a common thing by any stretch–and instead get them through various illicit means such as theft or purchasing them on the black market.

Local ordinances aren’t going to stop that in the least.

At best, it’ll send the criminals outside of the city limits to conduct the transaction, but even that’s unlikely since, you know, criminals. They break laws all the time. City ordinances aren’t exactly something that will inhibit them.

The question is whether local officials understand this and, if so, why oppose preemption?

Well, I can’t say what they know or don’t know, but I suspect that they’ve got to understand this on some level. They push against preemption, though, because it’s an easy scapegoat for them. It’s simple to say, “Well, we’d solve the problem but state law won’t let us pass gun control here, so what can we do?” I figure Philadelphia is challenging the law not because they think it’s making people less safe but because it makes voters think local officials are doing something.


Rather than admit that something else is amiss, guns are an easy target for them so they’ll do all they can and hope they can remain in office long enough that crime will drop naturally, then they’ll take credit for that drop despite having nothing to do with it.

Yet preemption prevents that, which is its real sin.

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