Legislation sponsored by Rep. John Taylor (R-Philadelphia) to toughen the penalties against those who use illegal guns has passed the House Judiciary Committee.
“This bill will give prosecutors an additional tool to fight illegal firearm possession and violence in the City of Philadelphia,” Taylor said. “If a person is carrying any type of firearm in public it is a crime unless the person is properly licensed or exempted 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 felony of the third degree, and anyone convicted would face a minimum mandatory sentence of at least two years total confinement.
Taylor introduced his legislation after discussions with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, which is looking 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. Since enacted, violent crime in New York City has fallen significantly.
“The law passed in New York City has had a positive impact on violent crime in that city,” Taylor said. “Many individuals within Pennsylvania law enforcement have expressed a hope this legislation could be a major tool to attack violent crime in Philadelphia.”
The bill now moves on to the whole House for a vote.
“We must do everything we can to protect our families from gun violence, and that starts with making sure those who illegally carry weapons are placed behind bars,” Taylor said. “This is commonsense legislation and it is long overdue.”