Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

March 21, 2005

Crime and Guns in Philadelphia

Filed under: — Different River @ 7:14 pm

There is a massive crime wave going on right now in Philadelphia, as reported by KYW:

Within the past eight days, there have been 23 homicides in Philadelphia, including three in the late-night and early morning hours after District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham made her appeal and vowed that her office will protect witnesses.

“We cannot only move you out of the city, we can move you out of the state; we can move you across the country,” Abraham said.

The latest deaths brought Philadelphia’s 2005 murder total to 78, up from 66 at the same point a year ago, police said.

[Mayor John F.] Street has declared the violence throughout the city a crisis and as a result has ordered the full review of police department policies and has suggested a full moratorium on the issuing of gun permits.

In addition, Street has requested a meeting with Governor Ed Rendell to talk about possible new gun legislation. He contends that some murders are impossible to prevent without tougher gun laws.

I’m sure Mayor Street would consider this a dumb question, but humor me for a moment: Does he really believe that people who are willing to violate the laws against murder would be unwilling to violate gun laws? Even if they were “tougher gun laws”?

I mean, really — the penalty for murder is typically the “toughest” penalty for any crime in any given state or city, ranging up to life in prison, and in some states, death. Much “tougher” than the punishement for violating any gun law. What kind of person would be afraid or unwilling to break gun laws but not murder laws? I’d say no person at all.

Imagine this conversation:

Gang member #1: OK, your job is to kill Mrs. Jones down on 28th Street. She called the cops on me last week.

Gang member #2: Sorry, no can do — they just passed tougher gun laws and I can’t get a gun permit.

If that sounds reasonable to you, then Mayor Street’s proposal probably makes sense to you to. If not, then it shouldn’t.

(And this leaving aside the fact that with all the background checks and the like, it’s very rare for crimes to be committed by gun-permit holders. First, if you’ve ever committed a violent or drug crime, you can’t get a permit. And second, if you’re planning to commit a crime, would you show up at the police station or courthouse to apply for a gun permit? A study by the National Center for Policy Analysis found that gun permit holder are 1000 times less likely to commit crimes than the general public.)

(Hat tip: VCDL.)

One Response to “Crime and Guns in Philadelphia”

  1. Joe’s Dartblog Says:

    Philly Crime Wave
    KYW reports that there is a homocide streak in the City of Brotherly Love right now. One proposed solution: tougher gun laws. Different River has insight into the obvious results should this policy be adopted:Gang member #1: OK, your job…

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