Unlicensed Philly gun owners may soon get ‘special cheese sandwiches’

seth williams john taylor larry farnese
Rikard Larma/Metro. District Attorney Seth Williams flanked by state Rep. John Taylor and state Sen. Larry Farnese.

Officials on Thursday announced a crackdown on illegal gun ownership – and Philadelphia is squarely in their crosshairs.

Two companion bills introduced in the state House by Rep. John Taylor (R-Phila) and the state Senate by Sen. Larry Farnese (D-Phila) would make illegal firearm ownership in Philadelphia a third-degree felony and mandate a two-year minimum jail sentence for offenders.

“It’s like a laser that goes directly at those evildoers,” District Attorney Seth Williams said. “That’s what this legislation does.”

Farnese said it “irks” him that politicians in Harrisburg are always willing to support funding for ammunition, cars and radios – “the tools as they say, so to speak, that law enforcement needs to do their jobs.”

“But I’ll tell you what law enforcement has told us,” he continued.

“That just as important as those pieces of equipment are the legislative tools that they need to do their jobs and to make the streets safer for all of us. That’s exactly what this legislation is combined to do.”

Taylor said the law isn’t a “gun bill” but a “crimefighting tool” desperately needed by Philadelphia police and prosecutors.

“We hear all the time in the gun debate about enforcing the rules we have,” he said. “We are enhancing the rules that already exist.”

When asked whether the Philadelphia prisons system can accommodate more inmates – its population has already swelled due to tougher firearm offenses sentences some local judges are doling out  – Williams said the city will make room.

“We’ll make sure there’s special cheese sandwiches for these people,” he said.

“If you carry a gun illegally, you’re a person that wants to kill my daughters or my aunt. Yes, there will be a place in prison for them for two years.”

Legislators said pushing the bill through won’t be easy, but state Rep. Mark Cohen (D-Phila) – who said he supports the law, but is not currently a cosponsor – marveled at its bipartisan nature and specific scope.

“It’s so narrowly and brilliantly targeted,” he said. “That’s is why it’s a very, very serious legislative proposal with an excellent change of passage.”

Biting the Big Apple

The measure is modeled on a 2005 New York City law creating a three-and-a-half year mandatory minimum sentence for illegal gun ownership.

20%. The drop in NYC’s homicide rate the year after the law’s passage.

414. People were murdered in NYC last year.

65%. Of those homicides were committed with a gun.

334. People were murdered in Philadelphia last year.

85%. Of those homicides were committed with a gun.

Zero. Of Philadelphia’s homicides by gun were committed with a legally obtained and registered firearm, Williams said.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…