Conservative activists across the country are watching to see if N.J. Gov. Chris Christie will sign or veto a bill that reduces the allowable size of ammo magazines from 15 to 10 rounds. While his presidential aspirations have been damaged by Bridgegate, he’s not necessarily out of the running in 2016 yet: Conservatives say he probably would end his candidacy by signing the bill.
We told you yesterday that former PA Governor Tom Ridge was on the advisory board of Everytown for Gun Safety, a new group funded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to enact gun restrictions at the state and national levels. Now Mayor Nutter has joined the effort, as well.
One of the lobby’s primary demands is universal background checks. Nutter contends it is not an organized grab for everyone’s guns.
“I respect the second amendment,” he said, “but I believe I have a first amendment right not be shot.”
Philadelphia is one of 10 cities to join the effort. (CBS Philly)
Lehigh Valley Live reports: “A New Jersey man participating in a program at the Steel City Gun Club was injured today when he accidentally shot his own leg, according to Bethlehem police Deputy Chief Todd Repsher. The man was at the Lower Saucon Township gun range as part of a program put on by the National Rifle Association and hosted in part by the Bethlehem Police Department, Repsher said. Medical crews were dispatched to the secluded gun range off of Riverside Drive at about 1:34 p.m., according to emergency dispatch reports.”
Over the weekend, a 2-year-old boy in West Philadelphia shot and killed his 11-year-old sister. The gun —a .357 Magnum — had been stored on top of a fridge; according to reports it was then moved to a master bedroom in the family home. One way or another, it ended up in the toddler’s hands. He fired it, of course. Now both of their lives are destroyed.
It’s a stupid, senseless tragedy. It never should’ve happened. We can all agree on this, right?
So I want to offer a proposal I believe might well reduce the number of gun deaths in Philadelphia. It’s also a provocative proposal. I suspect our gun debate is too polarized for it to become reality, at least for now. But I suspect it would reduce the number of stupid accidents we see — and, by teaching respect for the deadly power of firearms, might even lead to better behavior overall among this city’s criminal elements.
This proposal: Every junior-high student in Philadelphia public schools should take a gun-safety class.
Newsworks reports: “Gun owners and groups including the National Rifle Association would be able to take municipalities to court over local gun restrictions under a measure that passed a House committee with overwhelming support Tuesday. The bill would give challengers of local gun restrictions the legal standing necessary to ask for court review of an ordinance. Successful challengers could be reimbursed by municipalities for legal costs and other expenses.” While some cities do have laws more restrictive than state laws, experts say they’ve not been enforced. The new bill might force those cities to strip those laws from the books, anyway.
Newsworks reports that the PA House Judiciary Committee will vote today on a bill that would dismantle the state’s gun background check system, leaving officials to rely entirely on federal background checks. The bill eliminates expensive redundancy, advocates say
But, according to the Pennsylvania State Police, the state and national background check systems complement one another, rather than create duplication.
Spokeswoman Maria Finn said the state system can access information not available to the national background check system. As a result, she said, Pennsylvania’s system is “somewhat more robust,” containing, for example, certain records on juveniles and some arrest records not included in the national criminal background checks system.
“Right now, Pennsylvania uses those two systems in tandem,” said Shira Goodman, director of gun control advocacy group CeaseFire PA. “It is one of the good features of our regulation of guns here.”
Newsworks also notes: “The House Judiciary Committee is also scheduled to vote Tuesday on a measure to require local governments that pass gun regulations to pay legal fees and other costs of anyone who sues over the regulations.”
UPDATE 3/3/2014, 12: 11 p.m.: The answer is yes, there was a shooting at Woody’s, but it took place outside. I just got this from intrepid Philly Mag reporter Victor Fiorillo: “At 1:40 a.m. [Saturday morning], there was a fight outside Woody’s between two males. An unknown person fired a shot. Shooter described as unknown Hispanic male, approximately 25 years old. There were no arrests. Police do not have any reports of a shooting or other criminal activity inside the club.
A typical late night at Woody’s turned dangerous early Saturday morning when a gun was allegedly pulled and possibly fired at the Philadelphia gay nightclub.
6ABC reports: “Police have made a second arrest in connection with a shooting inside a Philadelphia school on Friday. Investigators say Donte Walker, 18, of the 5600 block of North Sydenham Street, appears to have sold the gun that was used inside the gymnasium of the Delaware Valley Charter School.”