Michael Nutter’s crime strategy needs Harrisburg’s help

Prosecutors will push for stiffer jail sentences for carrying illegal guns.

While Mayor Michael Nutter last week announced plans to employ new tactics to deal with the same old problem of illegals guns in Philadelphia, gun-reform advocates say the program’s success will ultimately be minimal without help from Harrisburg.

Among Nutter’s tools, prosecutors will push for stiffer jail sentences for those convicted of carrying illegal guns and rewards will be offered to those who help authorities recover them. But the city is still plagued by trafficking of illegal guns and straw-purchasing, when people purchase guns for those who cannot legally buy them.

“This is another example of cities having to take measures on their own because the state has turned their back,” said Max Nacheman, executive director of CeaseFirePA, a statewide organization that has lobbied for responsible gun-reform.

In 2007, city lawmakers passed five pieces of legislation only to have them thrown out in a court challenge by the National Rifle Association. Attempts to get the laws passed at the state level have failed.

The overturned laws seriously hinder the city, Nacheman insisted, along with a poor system for background checks. “I think that cities are really going to be approaching this problem from a deficit. If we have states working with us, it’s so much easier.”

State Sen. Larry Farnese, of Philadelphia, agreed. Farnese’s proposal to close the “Florida loophole,” which allows Pennsylvania residents to receive a permit to carry despite being denied in the commonwealth, has stalled.

“Unless the city is given the opportunity to get its own laws, or my gun [legislation] is passed … then we’re not going to be able to provide a safe city for people to work in and live in.”

No homicides during the weekend, police say

Though there were no homicides during the weekend, police were investigating the body of a young man found in a Northeast Philadelphia creek yesterday afternoon.

The man, believed to be in his late teens to early 20s, was found face down in a creek by a resident behind the 3500 block of Vinton Road.


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