Two state legislators with districts just northeast of violence-plagued Philadelphia announced this week they plan to introduce legislation mandating prison time for anyone convicted of keeping a firearm illegally in the Keystone State. 

State Representatives Frank Farry (R-Langhorne) and Kathleen “K.C.” Tomlinson (R-Bensalem) propose sentences of under two years for a first breach of gun-possession restrictions. Recidivists, however, would incur longer terms.  

Farry and Tomlinson lamented the failure of prosecutors in the City of Brotherly Love to seek significant punishment in illegal gun possession cases and blamed much of the city’s crime problem on that failure. 

“When previously convicted felons defy the law to possess a firearm illegally, the result is too often violence and death,” the lower-Bucks lawmakers wrote in a message to fellow representatives asking for their support. “As crime surges in the City of Philadelphia, more and more dangerous criminals are illegally possessing firearms because they know there are no hard consequences even if they are caught and prosecuted. Is it really any wonder that homicides and other shootings have surged to record levels in the City?”

The representatives insisted that “swift and certain punishment” of those who unlawfully have weapons will impede and deter many would-be offenders. 

“Previously convicted offenders who nevertheless insist on illegally possessing firearms are exactly the dangerous individuals who need to be stopped before more blood is shed,” Farry and Tomlinson wrote.

Last year, Philadelphia’s homicide rate hit an all-time high of 562. The rate is on track to surpass that this year, with 361 murders already having been committed, a two-percent jump over the 355 homicides that occurred by this time in 2021. 

Republicans in the Pennsylvania General Assembly are seeking accountability from Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, who was initially elected with the financial support of leftist billionaire George Soros. The financier admired Krasner’s hostility to police and his promises of leniency on offenders. 

Numerous legislators are seeking the prosecutor’s impeachment and have asked those who have suffered as a result of Philadelphia violence to report their stories via the website State representatives have also created an ad hoc committee to examine Philadelphia’s crime problem, an effort with which Krasner has not cooperated. 

– – –

Bradley Vasoli is managing editor of The Pennsylvania Daily Star. Follow Brad on Twitter at @BVasoli. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Kathleen Tomlinson” by Kathleen Tomlinson. Photo “Frank Farry” by Frank Farry.