EIGHT GUN-CONTROL bills, one of which would limit gun purchases to one per month, and another that would make failure to report a lost or stolen gun a crime, will be introduced in City Council today. Each is expected to easily pass, and be quickly signed by Mayor Street.
But the bills' sponsor, Councilman Darrell Clarke, will take an additional step. He will file suit in Common Pleas Court, arguing the city -and not the state -should be allowed to regulate guns.
It's a double-barrel blast, triggered by the rise in city shootings and homicides, often committed with illegally purchased guns. It's also triggered by Harrisburg's failure to consider, introduce, or let alone pass, meaningful gun-control laws.
The General Assembly may go through the motions of grappling with the gun issue. But despite demands from Philadelphia, including a charter initiative that granted the city jurisdiction over its gun laws and that was overwhelming approved by voters, the status quo remains.
A city of the first class such as Philadelphia shoud not be forced to suffer under gun laws more appropriate for rural jurisdictions. And Philadelphia is no longer alone, because other counties, such as Berks and Allegheny, suffer from gun violence.
Clarke's bills get to the heart of straw purchasing in which a gun is legally bought at a gun shop, then illegally sold out on the streets.
In addition to a citywide gun registry, another bill would prohibit people with a restraining order or a domestic-abuse case against them from legally owning guns.
The number of guns in Philadelphia is astonishing: Police confiscated about 6,000 guns last year. Another 1,000 came of the streets via gun buy- backs and turn-ins. About 86 percent of the city's 137 homicides this year were committed by handguns.
And even the feds struggle with this. A local spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives told Daily News columnist Elmer Smith that a major source of guns on the street come from "missing inventory" from licensed dealers.
Clarke's bills, if the state courts approve, can bring into check the chaos and killing that afflicts our city. State gun laws should not be, and cannot be, a one-size-fits-all proposition. *