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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 5, 2016 10:28 AM
From: Senator Lawrence M. Farnese, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Mandatory minimum for illegal carry of a firearm in Philadelphia
In the near future, I plan to reintroduce legislation that would create a mandatory minimum sentence for illegally carrying a firearm in Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, in an effort to reduce violence crime in the city, has examined measures in other large cities with high violent crime rates that have effectively reduced murders and shootings. Several years ago, New York City enacted a mandatory three and a half (3.5) year sentence for anyone convicted of illegally carrying a loaded firearm. Since the passage of this stiffer mandatory minimum sentence, violent crime in NYC has fallen significantly. For example, in 2012, the number of murders in NYC fell from 515 from 418 in 2011, a 40-year low. The number of shootings also hit an 18 year low. The mandatory minimum enactment contributed to the drop in violent crime in the city, and I believe this we should enact this law enforcement tool for Philadelphia.

My legislation would increase the grading for illegal carrying of a firearm in Philadelphia under Title 18, Section 6108 to a third (3rd) degree felony and add a mandatory minimum sentence of at least two (2) years total confinement. Current law grades this offense as a misdemeanor. Persons in violation of this section will not be eligible for parole, probation, work release or furlough.

The bill clarifies that the mandatory minimum sentence does not apply to persons lawfully possessing a firearm while operating a motor vehicle. This language addresses several issues, including situations where travelers from other counties have entered Philadelphia via automobile and get pulled over with a firearm in their car.

Companion language was passed in the House of Representatives (HB 1091) in the 2014-2015 Legislative Session.

I urge you to join me in co-sponsoring this important public safety measure that will adequately punish illegal gun carriers and deter future offenses.

Introduced as SB98