State Reps. Angel Cruz and Rosita C. Youngblood yesterday announced another effort aimed at reducing the flow of guns in Philadelphia, this time by allowing the city to create a gun-registry system.
Surrounded by reporters yesterday in his storefront office on North Fifth Street, Cruz said "something has to be done" to ease the wave of gun violence that has gripped the city.
Cruz said that while law-abiding citizens purchase guns, "bad people buy guns, too. This way we will know who has the guns."
Both legislators, however, conceded that their efforts have little chance of passing.
Cruz's original legislation, House Bill 760, called for establishing a statewide gun registry for anyone who buys a firearm. It also would have established a $10 registration fee for each gun purchased.
"If we could establish a significant gun registry system for the city, we could track illegal guns and discourage people from selling them for illegal purposes," Cruz said in a statement.
After receiving vocal opposition to the statewide registry, Youngblood last month offered an amendment that would limit the measure to Philadelphia.
She said gun owners in other parts of Pennsylvania have responded angrily to the idea of registering their firearms.
"People thought we were trying to take away their right to bear arms," said Youngblood, who represents parts of North and Northwest Philadelphia.
Youngblood said that by focusing the registry on Philadelphia, "I'm trying to relive some of the fear and stress out there," in other parts of the state.
Cruz said he amended the legislation to remove the $10 gun-registration fee to ease the cost on lawful gun owners, especially collectors whom he said described the fee as an unfair financial burden.
Cruz and Youngblood said they have received numerous mean-spirited e-mails from gun advocates.
Asked if he thought the legislation would pass in the face of traditional opposition from the gun-rights community, Cruz said: "I have to try something."
When asked the same question, Youngblood said: "The likelihood of passing this is slim."
"The communities that I represent in Philadelphia are very different than many other communities across this commonwealth," Cruz said in a statement. "In other parts of the state, they hunt animals; in Philadelphia, guns are used to hunt people."