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
Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NHL

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump…

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump Bruins in Game 1

MLB

MLB video highlights: Orioles top Red Sox, 8-4…

John Lackey roughed up for second straight outing

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.