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Two DelVal Dems Want Mandatory Background Check to Buy Ammo

Guns don’t kill people. Bullets do.

At least that’s the thinking behind legislation proposed by two Delaware Valley Democrats who are turning their sights on rising gun violence by attempting to restrict access to ammunition.

State Sens. Art Haywood (D-Montgomery/Philadelphia) and John Kane (Delaware/Chester) are sponsoring two bills to make it harder to buy ammo.

The first bill would require the Pennsylvania State Police to perform background checks on anyone who wants to purchase ammunition, just as they do background checks for those who buy guns. The second would require identification to prove ammunition buyers are 18 or 21, depending on the type of ammunition they want to buy. The lawmakers say sellers are not currently required to ask for ID in such cases.

In signing statements advocating their proposals, Haywood and Kane cited the mass shooting at Philadelphia’s Roxborough High School last September. Police said at least six people – five gunmen and a getaway driver – were involved in the ambush of 14-year-old football player Nicolas Elizalde.

According to police, the shooter simply walked into a Philadelphia gun shop and bought the ammo used in the shooting despite being a convicted felon.

“Although Pennsylvania law bars an individual with a felony record from purchasing firearms or ammunition, the Commonwealth does not regulate the sale or purchase of bullets,” a police statement said.

Asked for additional comments by DVJournal,  the two senators stood by their signing statements.

Jim Stoker, the president of Pennsylvania-based Firearms Owners Against Crime, believes the bills are “absolutely not” necessary.

“First of all, we know that background checks don’t do anything to stop crime,” said Stoker. “That’s been proven time and time again. The bad guys traditionally don’t source their guns through retailers because they have to identify themselves. If it doesn’t work with firearms, it’s certainly not going to make a difference with ammunition.

“Registering ammunition or serializing ammunition through microstamping just means they will be able to identify who bought the ammunition at a store,” he continued. “It’s not going to change the course of where that ammunition goes, where the bad guys get their ammunition.

“It’s certainly going to add an expense or an intrusion on the Second Amendment or, in our case, Article 1, Section 21 in Pennsylvania,” Stoker added. “So, once again, they’re going to add fees and do what they can to inconvenience the law-abiding citizens of the commonwealth while having zero impact on criminals or crime across the state.”

The senators insist their proposal is both modest and effective.

“Gun violence is prevalent in America, and its web of impact reaches everyone, including children. Forty-eight children under the age of 19 are shot every day in the United States, resulting in 2,900 deaths and 14,500 injuries each year. Folks, these are kids that we’re talking about.”

Stephen Gutowski of The Reload, one of the nation’s leading news sites on gun policy, says the idea has already been tried.

“Ammunition background checks are extremely uncommon throughout the country given their redundant nature since gun sales at licensed dealers already require background checks,” Gutowski said. “California is one of the few states that require background checks for ammo purchases.

“And it’s very unlikely that a proposal like this will go anywhere in the Pennsylvania legislature,” he added.

Haywood and Kane called the ID bill “common sense requirement to protect children and all Pennsylvanians from gun violence. This legislation would require all individuals to provide an official form of photographic identification with every purchase of firearm ammunition in the commonwealth. In addition, it would reinforce current law to ensure that firearm ammunition is not sold to underage children.”

Stoker said that most stores already have an ID policy to buy ammunition.

“The stores protect themselves by requiring ID already,” he said. “It’s beyond redundant. If the law is already on the books, why do we need another one?

“We know the vast majority of crimes in Pennsylvania are perpetrated by the same offenders over and over again,” Stoker continued. “Why don’t we do something about that instead of going after the grandpa that wants to take his gun out with his grandson and teach him how to hunt deer?”

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Kenney’s Complaints About Job, Second Amendment Spark Backlash

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney wants to live in an America without the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In fact, he even has a name for this place. “Canada.”

Kenney made his comments to reporters on July 4th after two police officers were struck by gunfire at the Wawa Welcome America Concert on the Parkway.

“It was a chilled-back day, beautiful weather. But we live in America where we have the Second Amendment, and we have the Supreme Court of the United States telling everybody they can carry a gun wherever they want,” the mayor said. “I was in Canada two weeks ago and never thought about a gun. The only people I knew who had guns in Canada were police officers.”

Kenney added, “If I had the ability to take care of guns, I would. But the legislature won’t let us. Congress won’t let us. The governor does the best he can. The attorney general does the best he can. But this is a gun country.”

In the same conversation, Kenney also complained about his job and said he will be “happy” when he is no longer mayor

“There’s not an event or a day where I don’t lay on my back and look at the ceiling and worry about stuff,” he said. “So everything we have in the city for the last seven years, I worry about. I don’t enjoy the 4th of July. I don’t enjoy the Democratic National Convention. I didn’t enjoy the NFL draft. I’m waiting for something bad to happen all the time. So I’ll be happy when I’m not here, when I’m not mayor and I can enjoy some stuff.”

Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, called on Kenney to “immediately resign.”

“Mayor Kenney should resign from office. Kenney’s comments about how he will be happy when he is no longer mayor further indicate he has given up on Philadelphia. John Fetterman, Larry Krasner, and Jim Kenney all support the failed policies that coddle criminals, provide sanctuary to dangerous illegal aliens and put dangerous criminals back out on the street. These radical far-left policies have led to record-breaking homicides and unprecedented rates of violent crime in Philadelphia and across the commonwealth. Worse still, Fetterman would go further by releasing one-third of all criminals and reducing sentences for murderers. We need to restore safety and security to Philadelphia and all of Pennsylvania–it begins by getting rid of Kenney, Krasner, and Fetterman.”

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is the Democratic candidate for the Senate. He did not directly address Kenney’s remarks or Oz’s rebuke. Instead, he railed against “gun violence” on Twitter and called for an end to the Senate filibuster.

“There is a sad irony in experiencing multiple mass shootings on a day meant to celebrate our freedom. We wish the law enforcement officers injured in the Philly shooting a safe + quick recovery,” Fetterman tweeted.

“We cannot become numb to ever-increasing gun violence. Washington needs to act + take on the NRA by prosecuting gun dealers whose weapons routinely wind up at crime scenes. And Democrats in the Senate need to scrap the filibuster + immediately pass common-sense reform,” said Fetterman.

Kenney’s attack on the Second Amendment drew responses from residents of the Delaware Valley.

“I saw a movie about a country where only the police and military had guns. It was called ‘Schindler’s List,’” said Wayne resident and firearms instructor Frank Tait.

“His failure to put competent leadership in the Philly Police Department. And to have a progressive DA only exasperated this crime problem,” said a Radnor resident who collects antique firearms. “Revolving door justice and letting repeat offenders of serious crimes out on no bail is a joke. Only when the Feds stepped into the car carjacking crimes have strong sentences been imposed. But Philly people get what they vote for. When you have an 18 percent turnout in a primary (in the DA’s race), that speaks volumes. Maybe he’d be better off in Canada?”

Kim Stolfer, president of Firearm Owners Against Crime,  was unimpressed by Kenney’s comments. “Well, thankfully, it isn’t up to him. And thankfully, he owns all the violence that’s in Philadelphia.

“The fact is, this is part of the broad brush that is being used by Democrats to paint 100 million gun owners in this country for a dozen mass murders,” Stolfer added.

The Republican nominee for Congress in the 4th District, Christian Nascimento, also called on Kenney to resign.

“Jim Kenney has given up on stopping crime. He has given up on Philadelphia. He has given up on police and their families. Today I call on Mayor Kenney to resign his seat as Philadelphia mayor. And if Congresswoman (Madeleine) Dean has a shred of integrity and even the smallest amount of concern and support for police and for the safety of district families, she will join me in calling for Kenney’s immediate resignation today.”

Attorney General  Josh Shapiro, the Democrat running for governor, said he would protect Second Amendment rights.

“I’ll be a strong defender of Second Amendment rights and a strong defender of making sure law-abiding citizens have the ability to bear arms. But we must make sure that those who are criminals — those who shouldn’t have access to guns — can’t get them,” Shapiro told 6 News.

By Tuesday afternoon, Kenney had apologized for his comments about no longer wanting to be mayor. “I apologize for being frustrated, but I do take my job personally and I take the problems we face personally,” he said. “And I apologize for wearing my emotions on my sleeve.”

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FLOWERS: Philly’s Mayor Looks Forward to Leaving Mess He Created

Everyone has those days when you wake up, look at the ceiling, and want to stay in bed until the moon rises in the evening sky. Most of us, however, are not the chief executives of major American cities, like the Hon. James Kenney, mayor of the city where America was born. Philadelphia’s leader has very publicly, albeit poignantly, made clear his desire to slump back into a private life he never actually had.

For most of his 60-plus years on this earth, Kenney has been in the public eye or on the public dole. He started his political life as an assistant to former state Sen. Vince Fumo, who essentially made his career possible. Patronage from the powerful Fumo helped Kenney snag a seat on Philadelphia City Council, where he remained for 23 years, from 1992 until 2015, when he resigned to run for mayor. He won that bid and is now well into his second term. He will wave a fond farewell (and being from Philly, likely a middle finger) in January 2024.

But over the weekend, he revealed to a reporter that he would prefer to be making his swan song much sooner. Commenting on the July 4th shooting of two police officers near the Art Museum during the holiday festivities, Kenney stated that “I don’t enjoy the Fourth of July, I don’t enjoy the Democratic National Convention, I didn’t enjoy the NFL Draft-I’m waiting for something bad to happen all the time. So I’ll be happy when I’m not here – when I’m not mayor, and I can enjoy some stuff.”

I am quite sure he did not grasp the tone-deafness of the phrase “and I can enjoy some stuff” hours after two police officers had been shot and were recovering in the hospital. Jim Kenney is many things, but he is not a cruel man. It’s likely he is so frustrated with the fruits of his own incompetence (and the actual malfeasance of others, like his District Attorney Larry Krasner) that he doesn’t realize how bad he looks when he ventures, infrequently, before the glare of the cameras.

Lately, it seems he has simply chosen to hide behind the doors of his office or the layers of Gen X and Gen Z “assistants” who have taken over his social media to tweet inane, feel-good comments about everything from rainbows during Pride Month to how fabulously he tried to erase the legacy of his most illustrious predecessor, Frank Rizzo. (Note to Kenney: Removing a statue does not remove stature).

But to those who actually heard the mayor say he wanted out of this job, it was a slap in the face. We, who are forced to live with the consequences of his acts and omissions, do not have the luxury of retiring from this city. True, we can choose to move elsewhere and abandon the place that provided generations of our families with joy and warm memories. Still, not everyone can afford to switch ZIP codes as easily as Jim Kenney slips out of state to Maryland crab shacks.

Of course, Kenney doesn’t take any responsibility for the mess he has made of the city. His fingers are pointed elsewhere, at the Republicans who have absolutely no control in the city, and who are not currently in charge of either Congress or the White House. Right before mentioning that he wanted to retire, he made this observation about the weekend:

“The weather was beautiful, the concert was beautiful, but we live in America and we have the Second Amendment, and we have the Supreme Court of the United States telling everybody they can carry a gun wherever they want.”

So, it’s not the district attorney refusing to prosecute gun crimes in the city. It’s the Founders and the inconvenient Second Amendment. And it’s not the thugs shooting at police officers and terrorizing civilians. It’s that ‘Republican’ U.S. Supreme Court misinterpreting the aforesaid inconvenient Second Amendment.

Given the fact that Jim Kenney has such an inability to admit that so many of the problems in the city are directly attributable to his lack of leadership, it actually might be a good idea for him to get an AARP subscription and buy a timeshare in Florida (if he could stand living in a state with a competent chief executive)

Now let’s see if we can convince Krasner to do the same.

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MASTRIANO: We Can Secure Our Schools Without Trading Away Constitutional Rights

To no one’s surprise, the horrific school shooting in Uvalde, Texas is being exploited to pressure Americans into accepting a false choice: their rights or their safety. Don’t be fooled.

It’s much easier to confront inanimate objects than human flaws, which is why many lawmakers are quick to demonize guns. But that doesn’t solve the problem. The investigation into this crime is ongoing, but we already know that standard life-saving protocols were not followed.

As elected leaders, we can’t allow the focus to shift from the evil actions of individuals to inanimate objects. In Pennsylvania, lawmakers have worked together to provide schools with critical tools to identify potential threats and safeguard classrooms.

The General Assembly established the School Safety and Security Grant Program, which enabled schools to hire police officers, resource officers and counselors. It empowered schools to implement safety plans and violence prevention initiatives, and purchase equipment to boost student safety.

In 2019, the General Assembly created The Safe2Say Program, an anonymous school threat reporting system, to help prepare schools and law enforcement for potential violent incidents. This system has generated more than 86,700 tips since its inception, not only for school safety concerns, but also for student safety issues like bullying and self-harm.

Also in 2019, the General Assembly established Threat Assessment Teams to ensure students who could potentially pose a safety risk receive necessary evaluations and treatment, and it established training requirements for school security personnel.

The General Assembly established regional Risk & Vulnerability Teams to conduct school safety and security assessments at no cost to schools. They created Community Safety Grants for local municipalities, colleges and community groups to boost safety and reduce the risk of violence in their communities.

What can the General Assembly do now? I have called for a $20 million funding increase in this year’s budget that may be used for armed resource officers, metal detectors, door fortifications, emergency response training, security cameras, door-locking technology, and increasingly innovative solutions that will provide more security than taking guns away from law-abiding citizens.

We can also join 29 other states that have added an extra layer of security in the classrooms by allowing school staff to carry firearms. I’m introducing SB 1288, which will allow Pennsylvania school employees to be armed while on school property.

An employee carrying a firearm on school property will be required to possess a valid PA concealed carry permit, complete a rigorous firearms course, and be certified as proficient with the firearm the employee intends to carry on school grounds.

To be certified, training must include courses on protection of students, interactions with first responders, tactics for denying classroom entry to intruders, safe handling and storage of weapons, and proficiency with defensive weapons under duress.

Additionally, those certified to carry in school would provide their name and photograph to the local municipal Police Department and the Pennsylvania State Police. This will allow law enforcement to know who is certified to carry should they need to enter the building in an active shooter situation.

SB 1288 would not be a mandate but would give school staff the ability to be a last line of defense if they choose. Sadly, there are some who think they shouldn’t have that choice. The president of the teachers union in Pennsylvania has gone on every network to call this proposal “dangerous and absurd.” He believes that, even if a school employee has been trained, permitted, and certified, they should not have the ability to defend students in a worse-case life and death scenario.

Mr. Askey is dead wrong. Mass murderers are often attracted to “soft targets” where they know victims are not armed. According to the Crime Prevention Resource Center, there has not been a single mass shooting in a school where staff were permitted to carry a firearm. According to the Crime Research Center, there has never been an incident of lost or stolen firearms where school employees are permitted to carry. Overwhelmingly, those with concealed carry permits have proven themselves trustworthy for decades.

All of these school safety best practices are tangible, rational steps we can take to protect our students and protect our constitutional rights at the same time.

It’s also important to note that criminality, violence, violence with guns, and antisocial behavior are pathologies commonly linked to young men from fatherless homes. Confiscating guns does not address this demonstrably significant factor. We need to start a difficult conversation about this cultural disaster.

Citizens across the nation and in Pennsylvania have long been pressured to trade their liberty for security. One cannot exist without the other. We can do better at protecting our kids in schools without infringing upon the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Pennsylvanians.

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