No New Gun Control Laws, But Philly Violent Crime Doing Interesting Things

AP Photo/Philip Kamrass, File

Officials in Philadelphia have been decrying the state's preemption law for quite some time. They've claimed that they need to create their own gun control laws there in the city if they hope to get a handle on violent crime.

Of course, they also want the state to pass gun control as well.

Through it all, they've found themselves disappointed. While the state House has rolled blue and is thus far more open to gun control than they were in the past, the Senate is still largely Republican, and they put a check on a lot of that nonsense.

Yet your average anti-gunner will still try to tell you that gun control is essential if Philadelphia seeks to get control of its violent crime issues.

Of course, that would assume that violent crime can't go down on its own.

Philadelphia has seen the largest drop in gun violence of all major U.S. cities so far this year, according to recent data from a research institute.

The Center for American Progress (CAP) – a liberal think tank based in Washington, D.C. -- released an analysis of national gun violence data. In their study, CAP analyzed gun homicides and “gun violence victimizations” across America in 2019, 2021, and 2024 from Jan. 1 to April 30.

“Philadelphia has seen the most significant decline in population-adjusted gun violence victimizations YTD of the 50 most populous U.S. cities,” CAP wrote in their release on their study. “As of the end of April 2024, Philadelphia experienced almost 16 fewer gun victimizations per 100,000 residents.”

As of Thursday, June 13, there were 120 reported homicides in Philadelphia so far in 2024, down 37 percent from the same time last year, according to Philadelphia police. It’s also the lowest number of homicides year to date in the city since 2016.

In their report, CAP said there’s been a sharp drop in gun homicides in cities nationwide. The group said the decline came after a record surge of gun violence in U.S. cities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Philadelphia experienced the highest number of homicides on record in 2021 with 562 and only a slight drop in 2022 with 514 total homicides.

Earlier in June, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel told NBC10 law enforcement will continue to target high crime corridors with more officers and resources during the summer months, which have often seen an increase in gun violence in past years.

“We’re happy at the direction we’re going but it’s very, very early in the process,” Commissioner Bethel said. “We’re only six months.”

That's a fair point. It is still early and summer tends to lead to an increase in violent crime.

Let's also remember that the Center for American Progress is a progressive think tank that has a vested interest in presenting a certain point of view, part of which would be to make urban centers, which tend to share CAP's outlook, appear less dangerous than they might actually be.

But the truth is that what goes up must come down. That's generally true in all things, especially such a dramatic spike in homicides like what we saw during the pandemic.

We still don't really have a handle on why it went up during the pandemic, either, but we do know it wasn't going to remain there indefinitely.

Before 2020, the homicide rate had been largely trending downward for decades, all without any gun control laws being passed.

While there's been a big push for gun control in Pennsylvania lately, again, nothing changed.

"But what about the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act? That passed."

And just how do you think that created such a drop? Are you claiming that a 37 percent drop in homicides was the result of people who assaulted their girlfriends and are now prohibited because of close the so-called boyfriend loophole? 

To quote Joe Biden, "Give me a break."

No, this is one of those things that was going to happen regardless of any legislative action imaginable. In fact, based on history, there's reason to wonder if it would have gone down more without the BSCA's passage.

For the people of Philadelphia, I'm glad they're seeing the numbers go in the right direction. I'm also glad they didn't get any gun control passed because I really do think that would have had a negative impact on what happened here.