Friday, September 22, 2023

A Most Violent Weekend — And The Firearms Preemption Laws

Broad + Liberty ran my piece on this past weekend’s shootings and the mayor and the Firearms Preemption Laws.

You can read the piece via the below link or the below text:

Jim Kenney misunderstands Firearms Preemption Laws (

Gun control advocates believe that the outbreak of gun violence this past weekend, in which ten people were shot and eight were killed in several separate shootings, is proof that more legislation is needed to curb gun violence.

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.

The press release went on to state that during the hearing, the city presented its argument regarding the ongoing gun violence crisis in Philadelphia, where over 1,000 people have been shot so far in 2023. Petitioners have compelled the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to reverse the dismissal of the case and for the case to be remanded to the Commonwealth Court for discovery and trial.

The city and co-petitioners filed this lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 2020, seeking a permanent injunction preventing further enforcement of Firearms Preemption Laws so that Philadelphia and other municipalities in Pennsylvania can implement sensible gun safety laws that are proven to save lives. In May of 2022, the Commonwealth Court dismissed the case, and the City of Philadelphia appealed the decision.

“The Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act binds our hands as we fight the scourge of gun violence and senseless loss of life in Philadelphia. There is no justification for this restriction that could possibly outweigh the negative effects of gun violence — especially the lives cut tragically short and the enduring psychological trauma to residents,” said Mayor Jim Kenney“To be clear, we are arguing on both principle and empirical evidence showing that the constitutional, common-sense approaches we’re currently prevented from taking would reduce gun violence in Philadelphia. With this lawsuit, we are petitioning the court to let us save lives and protect the communities most impacted by our national crisis of gun violence.”

Diana Cortes, the City Solicitor, added, “With over 269 people killed by firearms this year alone, gun violence continues to traumatize Philadelphia communities on a near daily basis. Despite this, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania not only refuses to act but, through the enforcement of Firearms Preemption, has repeatedly blocked city officials from implementing laws to address the crisis, including permit-to-purchase ordinances, one-gun-per-month limits, and extreme risk protection. The city is confident in the facts and case law presented in its legal argument and is hopeful that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will reverse the Commonwealth Court decision to dismiss this case.”

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.

“But he can tackle the gun issue by taking the handcuffs off the police and letting us round up the well-known bad guys who use guns in armed robberies, carjackings, and drug wars,” the cop said. “And the district attorney can prosecute these bad guys and lock ’em up for good.

“But don’t hold your breath, as ‘Let Em’ Loose Larry’ Krasner has never met a criminal he doesn’t identify with. I gotta ask, whose side is Krasner on?”

Mayor Kenney does not have the authority to enact gun control laws. And he shouldn’t. That’s what we have a state legislature for. Even if the mayor was able to enact draconian gun laws, only legitimate gun owners would be punished. Criminals violate existing laws openly, and they’ll violate any new laws passed by the mayor.

Gun control laws do not apply to the criminal underworld, as hardened criminals do not abide by government laws and edicts.

Paul Davis, a Philadelphia writer and frequent contributor to Broad + Liberty, also contributes to Counterterrorism magazine and writes the “On Crime” column for the Washington Times. He can be reached at

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