KILLADELPHIA: Nutter Declares Independence

INQUIRER: Mayor Nutter likened himself and City Council members yesterday to the band of rebels who formed this country as he signed five new gun-control laws that defy the state legislature and legal precedent. “Almost 232 years ago, a group of concerned Americans took matters in their own hands and did what they needed to do by declaring that the time had come for a change,” Nutter said as he signed the bills in front of a table of confiscated weapons outside the police evidence room in City Hall. “We are going to make ourselves independent of the violence that’s been taking place in this city for far too long,” he said. The five laws — called everything from unconstitutional to criminal by critics — do the following:

  • Limit handgun purchases to one a month.
  • Require lost or stolen firearms to be reported to police within 24 hours.
  • Prohibit individuals under protection-from-abuse orders from possessing guns if orderedgunfiring.gif by the court.
  • Allow removal of firearms from “persons posing a risk of imminent personal injury” to themselves or others.
  • Outlaw the possession and sale of certain assault weapons.

Nutter said he would begin to enforce the laws immediately, with the exception of the one-gun-a-month requirement, which takes effect in six months. He and Council are in for a fight, however. The city has tried and failed for three decades to buck the 1974 state law that reserves gun regulation to the state legislature. The state’s preeminence appeared to be cemented in a 1996 Supreme Court ruling that allowed the legislature to prevent Philadelphia and Pittsburgh from enacting local gun laws. Recent efforts include a 2005 referendum in which city voters, by a 4-1 ratio, demanded that the state allow the city to pass its own gun laws. Council members Darrell L. Clarke and Donna Reed Miller sponsored a set of gun-control measures bills last year, then sued the legislature to allow them to move forward. That case is pending. MORE

skeleton_running.gifRELATED: One man was killed and two others wounded in unrelated shootings in the city overnight, police said this morning. Donte Jones, 20, of the 5500 block of Jane Street in East Germantown, was fatally shot on nearby Woodlawn Avenue, said Officer Christine O’Brien. Police responded to a 10:41 p.m. report of a person with a gun and found Jones lying on the ground with a gunshot wound to his back in the 1100 block of Woodlawn, O’Brien said. He was transported to Albert Einstein Medical Center and pronounced dead at 11:16 p.m. Police reported no arrests. At 10:44 p.m., a 27-year-old man was shot in the right arm in the 5600 block of Pentridge Street in Southwest Philadelphia, O’Brien said. The man was taken to the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania and reported in stable condition. At 2:09 a.m. today, a 24-year-old man was shot in the back of the head and buttocks in the 6100 block of West Oxford Street in Overbrook, O’Brien said. The man was taken to the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania and reported in stable condition. No arrests were reported in either shooting.

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