Tuesday, July 29, 2014
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The "Other" Gun owners in this city

Do you want to know with a legal gun owner in the city thinks about illegal handguns? I spoke with one .

The "Other" Gun owners in this city

 

In Philadelphia with so much gun violence I recently spoke with a legal and registered gun owner in the city. Kareem Benson 40 is a married father and grandfather also  lifelong resident of Philadelphia. We spoke at length about the reasons he decided to get a gun permit and if that makes him feel safer. When speaking with Kareem I asked how long that he has had a permit to carry a handgun. Kareem replied “I first got my permit to carry in 1997 and have kept renewing ever since” I asked Kareem if he thought that the state’s current gun laws are good enough. Kareem stated “ I do not, this state would benefit greatly from tougher gun laws”. Most people in this city would not have any idea what the current state gun laws are. I myself would be included as I did not know what the gun laws for the state of Pennsylvania are. A portion of the law states :

    Any person who carries a firearm in any vehicle or any person who carries a firearm concealed on or about his person, except in his place of abode or fixed place of business, without a valid and lawfully issued license under this chapter commits a felony of the third degree. (18 Pa.C.S. § 6106: Firearms not to be carried without a license)

 

I think what is important about that law is that a third degree felony convictions have a wide range of jail time (between 2-10 years) I think that for firearm charges to be an effective deterrent mandatory sentences should be used. Asked whether he agreed with that assessment registered gun owner Kareem Benson stated “ I agree, I would like to see mandatory harsh sentencing guidelines especially when the weapon is used in a commission of a crime” If there was a mandatory 5 year sentence for possessing a firearm illegally and  mandatory 10 year sentence if the gun is used in a crime I don’t  believe you would see so many guns on the street. I am not naïve enough to think these laws in themselves will stop the gun violence however, I do believe that we would see a marked change. I asked Kareem what he thinks is needed to try to curb this epidemic and he stated “In addition to the laws politicians and citizens alike have to force a change” Lastly I went back to one of my initial questions that If Kareem felt safer walking around with a handgun that he is licensed to carry? His reply “I am not sure about safer but I do think it evens the playing field if I have to defend myself or my family” 

  Please post your thoughts on more stricter gun laws and if you would support mandatory sentences for gun offenses.

 

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The Daily News People's Editorial Board is a group of citizens who gather to debate hot topics in Philadelphia. They tell the city what they think in an official People's Board Editorial in the Daily News, and also weigh in individually by video, here on Philly.com.

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