The Be-All, End-All in Harrisburg

Give a gold star to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania mayor Eric Papenfuse for his unwavering support for local anti-gun ordinances while completely obliterating them at the same time.

AP ran a story on January 11 about Pennsylvania's new preemption law which allows citizens of the Keystone State to sue cities and towns which pass gun ordinances that are at odds with state laws. The “novel new law,” as AP calls it, has prompted almost two dozen towns to rescind their local gun ordinances to avoid the risk of legal action against them. According to the article, Pennsylvania has long prohibited local municipalities from passing their own gun laws, but that anti-gun cities have simply ignored the law for 40 years. The new law allows citizens to sue to overturn those local measures and the challenger in the suit can even seek damages.

Anti-gun groups like CeaseFirePA are, obviously, not enthused with the new law and are urging cities and towns to wait for legal challenge to work it's way through the courts. The cities of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Lancaster have sued to overturn the new law.

But Harrisburg's mayor takes the cake. Harrisburg's ordinances are “intended to combat gun violence and have the support of the police chief” the article quotes Mr. Papenfuse.

Harrisburg's ordinances are onerous and have nothing to do with public safety.

  • 3-345.1 outlaws possession of BB guns by minors unless accompanied by an adult.
  • 3-345.2 forbids firing guns (including “toy pistols” within the city, except at “supervised firing ranges” with “the approval of the Mayor or Chief of Police.”
  • 3-345.4 requires the owner of a firearm that is lost or stolen to report the loss or theft to appropriate law enforcement officials within 48 hours.
  • 3-355.2 bans the sale or transfer of ammunition or firearms or even the display of those items for sale by stores during a state of emergency declared by, you guessed it, the mayor.
  • 10-301.13(B) bans the possession of firearms in city parks.

Mr. Papenfuse is, unsurprisingly, a Democrat who's prior experience is running what appears to be a snooty bookstore. He said the new law represents a “fringe ideological view.” Then the Yale grad did his best to contradict his position without even knowing he had done it.

“I don't think it's the be-all and end-all of public safety, but I think it's an important tool to have, and it absolutely sends the wrong message to try to rescind those ordinances, especially given the epidemic of gun violence we have in cities like Harrisburg,” he said.

Did you get that? The local anti-gun ordinances in Harrisburg are important to combat gun violence…which is an epidemic in Harrisburg. How bad must Harrisburg have been before the ordinances were passed if violence is at epidemic levels now? Blood must have literally been running in the streets.

Oh, I know, the ordinances are not the “be-all end-all.” Perhaps if they disarmed the police, too, like they do in France, the citizens of Harrisburg would be really, really safe.

You want to reduce violent crime in your city, Mr. Mayor? Get your nose out of your books and start cracking down on real criminals, rather than working so hard to criminalize a Constitutional right.


2 Comments on "The Be-All, End-All in Harrisburg"

  1. “You want to reduce violent crime in your city, Mr. Mayor? Get your nose out of your books and start cracking down on real criminals, rather than working so hard to criminalize a Constitutional right.”

    Disagree. If he wants to reduce violent crime in his city, he should resign and let an adult originalist take over.

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