Supremes Throw Shade At Philly DA In Gun Case –The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, heard this morning, Sept. 13, a plea to overturn numerous state laws that prohibit municipalities from enacting independent firearm ordinances.
The hearing was at Philadelphia City Hall, one of the three venues used by the court.
Stanley Crawford et al vs Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, alleges that the state laws hurt minorities by preventing big cities from keeping guns out of poor neighborhoods.
Lead plaintiff Crawford is Black. His son was killed in a shooting, Sept. 8, 2018, in Philadelphia’s Rawhnhurst section.
The plaintiffs also say the state laws violate Article I, Section 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution which says that “(all) have certain inherent and indefeasible rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty.”
Their reasoning is that one can’t enjoy life if one lives in fear. Bad people on the street with guns make people afraid, they say.
And if only people would do what they want, unicorns would bring us all lollipops.
The plaintiffs also claim that gun violence is a health crisis
The plaintiffs were represented by Lydia Furst of the City of Philadelphia’s Law Department and Benjamin David Geffen of The Public Interest Law Center,.
The Democrat-leaning court was surprisingly unsympathetic to their arguments. Several justices wondered if they weren’t asking the court to set policy rather than address constitutional concerns.
Even more surprisingly — shockingly actually — was the shade thrown by the court at those Philly officials tasked with keeping the peace. Most of the shade came from Justice Kevin M. Dougherty and Chief Justice Debra Todd.
Dougherty and Ms. Todd wondered why the plaintiffs didn’t address their concerns about crime control with city officials.
District Attorney Larry Krasner was not cited by name.
But did he have to be?
Dougherty made it a point to say he was the only Philadelphia resident on the court.
The defendants were well-represented by Democrats, also surprising. Matthews S. Salkowski represented the General Assembly and a person whose name we missed the Attorney General. They gave solid reasons for not letting Philadelphia and other places set independent firearm policy. Republican Senate Pro Tempore Kim Ward had her own representation, who also made strong arguments.
Attorney Josh Prince who filed amicus curiae on behalf of Allegheny County Sportsmen League and Firearms Owners Against Crime was an observer. He thinks the state laws are likely to stay in place.
The plaintiffs struck us as sincere. If they overcome this bizarre blind spot that has convinced them that their opponents are bad people indifferent to murder, much division would end.
Gun rights supporters are very much opposed to murder, let us note.
The 1994 law passed by the Pennsylvania General Assembly compelled Philadelphia to grant concealed carry permits in the same unburdensome way the rest of the state did. Philadelphia homicides fell from 432 in 1995 to 292 by 1999, and stayed under 400 for 20 years.
Granted things have changed but, well, Larry Krasner.
Note at this link that there were but 150 homicides in Philly in 1960 and the city had about a half-million more people, and there were far fewer gun restrictions.
And nobody wants mass shooting. Japan has few mass shooting but the reason isn’t a gun ban. What Japan does is lock up the crazies.
Which is what we used to do. In 1960, there were more than three times as many in the United States who were incarcerated in mental institutions than in prisons.
It’s over six-to-one in prisons.
Supremes Throw Shade At Philly DA In Gun Case