Legislation sponsored by Rep. John Taylor (R-Philadelphia) to toughen the penalties against those who carry illegal guns has passed the House.
“This is a victory for the people of Philadelphia,” Taylor said. “This legislation will help prosecutors in their fight against illegal firearm possession and violence in our city. If someone is carrying any type of firearm in public it is a crime unless the person is properly licensed or exempt from licensing.”
Under House Bill 1091, the possession of a firearm without a legal permit and that is not owned by the person carrying the weapon, would be a third-degree felony, and anyone convicted would face a minimum mandatory sentence of at least two years total confinement.
The bill was introduced following discussions with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, which wanted to duplicate the success of a New York City law that calls for a mandatory three-and-a-half-year sentence for anyone convicted of illegally carrying a loaded firearm. Violent crime in New York City fell significantly after the new law went into effect.
“Having witnessed the success in New York City, law enforcement officials expressed a hope this legislation could be a major tool to address violent crime in Philadelphia,” Taylor said.
“We must keep our families safe from gun violence,” Taylor said. “That starts with making sure those who illegally carry weapons are placed behind bars.”
The bill now moves on to the Senate.