There’s no more graphic or compelling proof that Pennsylvania lawmakers finally must get serious about gun-trafficking reform than the Sept. 13 murder of suburban Philadelphia police officer Bradley Fox.
The arrest of a Philadelphia man last week on charges that he was the so-called straw buyer who provided nine weapons to the suspect in Fox’s killing — convicted felon Andrew C. Thomas — exposes the true cost of Harrisburg’s refusal to pass even modest gun-control measures.
If not for the National Rifle Association’s iron grip on state lawmakers, the state long ago could have made it a crime when gun owners fail to report a lost or stolen weapon — a common excuse given to authorities when a gun turns up in a crime. That would represent a small step toward discouraging gun purchases on behalf of criminals banned from owning firearms.
The more aggressive response to the young officer’s death — Fox left a 6-month-old daughter and his wife, pregnant with their second child — would be to limit gun buyers to one handgun purchase a month.
There’s clearly a need, as well, for law enforcement to make sure gun dealers are more vigilant about gun trafficking. Thomas’ alleged supplier was able to buy six weapons from one gun shop without raising the alarm.
But the lost-and-stolen measure should be renamed the Bradley Fox Act — and then passed into law without delay. Make sure Fox’s murder is the last straw.