My name is Geoffrey ------. I'm a resident of the city of Allentown, residing at ----------. I'm writing this letter due to my concern about potential legislation in the form of what I've seen referred to as the "2007 Crime Package," referenced here (http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/ne...-1053218.html)
While I understand and respect the ideal of reducing gun crime, many aspects of this legislation only seek to limit the freedoms of law-abiding gun owners like myself. As the article summarizes:
1. Limit handgun purchases to one per month
2. Ban the sale of military-style assault weapons
3. Give police and prosecutors new tools for investigating crimes
4. Increase bail and sentencing for violent crimes and repeat offenders
5. Allow communities to enact their own gun laws
6. Require gun owners to file police reports when their guns are lost or stolen
Section 1, limiting handgun purchases to one per month, may seem like a reasonable idea, however in practicality it will have absolutely no effect on gun crime. The overwhelming majority of crimes committed with firearms are committed with illegally-obtained weapons. As such, limiting law-abiding citizens to one handgun purchase per month will only remove freedoms; it will not alleviate the problem for which it is meant.
Section 2, the banning of the sale of "military-style assault weapons." Not only is this very vague wording (I'd be very interested in seeing the precise wording of the proposed legislation if you happen to have access to it), but it also provokes fear, uncertainty and doubt in the minds of those people who are unfamiliar with modern firearms, prompting them to assume that such weapons are preferred by criminals. This couldn't be further from the truth. Assault weapons (as defined here: http://www.guncite.com/gun_control_gcassaul.html
) are used in 0.20% of all violent crimes and about 1% in gun crimes. Not only that, but a good portion of those that are used in crimes are, again, illegally obtained and as such would be unaffected by the proposed legislation. Another law that would only hinder the rights of law-abiding citizens, and not help alleviate crime.
Section 5, allowing local municipalities to enact their own firearms laws. This again would make a law-abiding citizen's life a nightmare, especially if he/she is the holder of a concealed weapons permit (approximately 7% of the PA population). As it stands, due to state preemption, all of Pennsylvania has relatively uniform firearms laws. This makes it easy to learn and understand what is and is not allowed when travelling throughout the state. If local municipalities are allowed to enact their own laws, not only will it not stop crime, but it will by definition increase crime, as previously lawful activities may become illegal, and unaware practitioners of said acts will then be breaking the law. On top of that, it is already illegal to use a firearm to commit a crime. Any person who is intent on using a gun to commit a crime will not be deterred by any local firearms laws.
Sections 3, 4, and 6 sound reasonable and I have no particular objections with them as per their wording in the article. However, Sections 1, 2, and 5 will not help to reach a goal of lower crime. Please consider my points about this legislation. Thank you for your time and reading this rather lengthy letter.