Back in 2012, the NRA attempted to sue several Pennsylvania municipalities when they enacted gun laws stronger than Pennsylvania state laws. (Mayor Michael Nutter led this charge — in response to the Batman massacre in Colorado — after stricter gun laws failed in the state legislature.)
The NRA’s lawsuit was dismissed for lack of standing. But, back then, the State House worked on a bill that would automatically give the NRA standing to sue municipalities — including Philadelphia — if they enact stricter gun laws than the state requires.
The bill didn’t become law. But guess what: It’s back! State Rep. Mark Keller, who represents Franklin and parts of Perry counties, has introduced a bill allowing the NRA or another gun-rights group to sue municipalities over their stricter gun laws.
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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.
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