According to a report by the Philadelphia Daily News, police leadership and prosecutors are upset that law-abiding gun owners are seeking licenses to carry from states that are more strict and uniform in their issuing practices. In an effort to create controversy where little evidence exists, the Daily News embraces sensational hypotheticals that, when broken down, truly reflect upon the dysfunction within Philadelphia’s criminal justice system.
For example, Lt. Lisa King cites concerns that applicants to out-of-state licensing authorities might have been arrested, but never convicted of any crimes. To her, such a situation seemingly demands the denial of Constitutional rights without any effort by authorities to prove guilt. Fortunately for those of us who believe in the rule of law, our justice system is one based on a presumption of innocence until the state can prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury of our peers.
District Attorney Seth Williams, whose office frequently refuses to process cases of known criminals who are disqualified from owning – let along carrying – a gun, announced plans for his “legislation unit” to look into the matter. Residents of Philadelphia might ask why their tax dollars are being used to lobby rather than prosecute those who have actually committed crimes.
As initially mentioned to the Daily News reporter, PAFOA has firsthand accounts of those who have faced the abusive and arbitrary licensing requirements of the City. When licenses of the victims are regularly revoked simply because a home or car is broken into, it is clear that the Police Department would rather pick on easier targets – those who seek to follow the law – than investigate cases of actual criminals.
Attorney General Tom Corbett’s spokesperson came to the defense of those who opt for an out-of-state permit, noting that the requirements for Florida are actually more strict than Pennsylvania. Though that did not stop the anti-gun group, CeasefirePA from blaming him for the practice. In an admission to the paper, the organization said this is an opening salvo in a planned attack on the Attorney General in the upcoming gubernatorial elections.
Finally, the article does reveal that the Police Department plans to work closely with the District Attorney on the issue. One might assume this means they will work together to prosecute more cases against violent criminals. However, rather than concentrating on getting dangerous people off the streets of Philadelphia, King announced a plan to subpoena records from Florida in order to target the Philadelphia residents who have lawfully obtained a permit from the state. It speaks volumes that the City leaders would rather use resources and manpower to target those who can pass multiple background checks and have appropriate firearms training rather than focusing on putting more hardened criminals behind bars.