WHEREAS, Pennsylvania law currently places no limits on the number of handguns a person may purchase at any time;
WHEREAS, according figures recently released by the Mayor’s Office, in 1997, guns were used to commit 542 homicides, 8,816 robberies, and 4,034 assaults across the state;
WHEREAS, the Mayor’s Office also reports that in 1997, 26% - more than a quarter - of the guns found at Philadelphia crime scenes were originally purchased legally and then illegally resold to individuals not otherwise permitted to own handguns under the law;
WHEREAS, legislation has been introduced in the current legislative session which would, if enacted, reduce the availability of illegal handguns by limiting an individual’s ability to purchase handguns to one per month thereby reducing opportunities to profit from illegal resale of legally-purchased guns;
WHEREAS, other states have adopted similar legislation limiting the purchase of handguns to one per month, including Virginia, Maryland and South Carolina;
WHEREAS, the proposed legislation would except law enforcement officers, private security companies and others with legitimate reasons for multiple gun purchases in a single month from the act’s prohibitions;
WHEREAS, the Board of Governors of the Philadelphia Bar Association in 1988 previously adopted a resolution opposing relaxation of Pennsylvania’s Uniform Firearms Control Act, stating, noting that existing law placed a "reasonable and necessary limit on the number of firearms being carried on the street by allowing such licensure only where ‘the applicant ... has ... good reason for carrying a firearm,’ noting that " the widespread presence of firearms would greatly increase the likelihood that ... assaults will result in death or serious bodily injury," and that "unrestricted possession of firearms would greatly jeopardize the lives and well-being of law enforcement officers seeking to enforce the criminal and civil laws of the Commonwealth";
WHEREAS, the Board of Governors recognizes that gun violence has a tremendous negative impact on the quality of life for Philadelphians and others throughout the region.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association commends and supports Philadelphia Mayor Edward Rendell for his efforts to make Philadelphia a safer place to live and work;
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Chancellor and Legislative Liaison Committee work to help secure passage of legislation aimed at meeting the Mayor’s goal of reducing the number of illegal handguns on Philadelphia streets.
PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: February 25, 1999