Wednesday, July 6, 2022

On Guns, Buck-Passing Kenney Is A Hypocrite And Coward

By Ralph Cipriano

During his now famous "I'll be happy when I'm not mayor" speech, the buck-passing Mayor Kenney blamed the Second Amendment, the state legislature and the U.S. Supreme Court for the proliferation of guns in Philadelphia.

"If I had the ability to take care of guns I would, but the [state] legislature won't let us, the U.S. Congress won't let us," Kenney whined. "It's crazy. We are the most armed country in world history and we are one of the least safest. Until Americans decide they want to give up the guns and give up the opportunity to get guns we're going to have this problem."

Nice speech, Mr. Mayor. But instead of passing the buck, there is something you can do right now to stop the proliferation of guns on the streets of Philadelphia. And it doesn't require the approval of the U.S. Supreme Court, or Congress, or the state legislature.

You can pick up the phone right now, Mr. Mayor, and order your hand-picked police commissioner to stop the big giveaway that's going on right now over at the Philadelphia Police Department's Gun Permit Unit. That's the place at 660 East Erie Avenue where, over a 18-month period from January 2021 until the end of this past June, they've issued a total of 79,779 new licenses to carry concealed firearms.

Last year, that amounted to a more than 700% increase in new licenses to carry over the previous year. 

It used to take 40 days to get a gun permit in Philadelphia; now it only takes one week. That's because in the middle of an unprecedented epidemic of gun violence, the PPD basically blew out all of the previous local safeguards that had been in place for decades.

The city used to require an applicant seeking a license to carry a concealed weapon to answer all the questions in a three-page questionnaire during a face-to-face interview with a cop. The city also used to require applicants to submit to a background check by a local detective, as well as submit their fingerprints, and proof of residency.

But now that all those previous local safeguards are gone, Mr. Mayor, in your own words, there probably are "a lot of goofballs out there with guns who can get them anytime they want," as in over at your Police Department's Gun Permit Unit. 

During his "I'll be happy when I'm not mayor" speech, Kenney also blamed the shooting of two cops during the city's Fourth of July celebration on "some nitwit . . . who has a gun and probably shouldn't have."

What if that nitwit, Mr. Mayor, just picked up a brand new license to carry over at your Police Department's overly generous Gun Permit Unit?

A spokesperson for the mayor did not respond to a request for comment. 

During his "I'll be happy when I'm not mayor" speech, Kenney said that both the weather and the concert at the July 4th celebration were beautiful.

"But we live in America and we have the Second Amendment, and we have the Supreme Court of the United States telling everybody they can carry a gun whenever they want," Kenney complained.

But according to Mark Zecca, a former senior attorney in the city's law department who used to handle gun legislation for the city, that recent U.S. Supreme Court decision has no impact on Pennsylvania's gun laws.

"Yes, the Supreme Court did strike down the New York State law that required an applicant to have a special reason to be allowed to conceal carry," Zecca wrote in an email. "About six states are reported to have such laws."

"But most states, including Pennsylvania, do not have such laws and allow issuance unless there is a good reason to deny a carry permit," Zecca wrote, "such as showing that the person is likely to be a danger to self or others."

"The Supreme Court did not strike down the type of law that Pennsylvania has which allows and even REQUIRES the Police Commissioner to make a determination of whether the applicant would be a danger to public safety," Zecca wrote.

"Our law allows the City to deny these licenses on this ground and the applicant may then appeal. 
The City has traditionally litigated countless cases like this and the City’s authority under the law has been upheld."

"Philadelphia used to be the leader in Pennsylvania in scrutinizing these permit applicants," Zecca wrote. "This is important because, when a permit is issued to somebody who should not have one, it stops the police from being able to arrest for gun possession and it stops the police from taking the gun."

"Yet, recently, the City has inexplicably and unjustifiably stopped the City’s traditional thorough review and has opened the flood gates for these permits and is issuing them easily," Zecca wrote. 

To Zecca, it makes no sense that Kenney isn't doing something about the big giveaway that's going on right now over at the Gun Permit Unit.

"So, the Mayor is failing to do what he has direct control over, to pull back on sloppy permit issuance," Zecca wrote. "Instead, [Kenney] criticizes a Supreme Court decision that does not even affect Pennsylvania’s law."

"This is hypocritical," Zecca wrote. "The Mayor claims to be concerned about too many guns on the street. If he is concerned, then he should reverse his administration’s new overly lenient gun permit issuance policy."

And why hasn't the mayor done something to limit guns on the streets that's entirely under his control?

Zecca thinks it has something to do with being afraid of the big bad gun lobby.
"He [Kenney] and his Law Department should stop being so afraid of being sued by the NRA and should fight to defend the City’s authority under Pennsylvania law to thoroughly review conceal carry applications," Zecca said.

I sent Zecca's remarks to the mayor's press office early this morning for their response, but I haven't received anything from Kenney's faithful spinmeisters. In their defense, they're probably still cleaning up the mess from the other day. 

That's when Kenney seemingly committed political suicide by showing up in front of the TV cameras in his shorts and a soccer jersey and confessing that he didn't want to be mayor any more.

The mayor's spinmeisters didn't respond because they really had no defense. Their only hope is that this story doesn't spread to other media outlets, such as the Inquirer and the TV stations. 

And luckily for Kenney, the reporters and editors at The Daily Democrat, as well as the TVs, are still giving Kenney a pass. 

Despite Kenney's public anti-gun stance, the city under Kenney's "leadership" has a recent history of rolling over for the benefit of gun owners.  

In 2020, the Gun Owners of America [GOA], as well as the Firearms Policy Coalition, sued the city, claiming that because of Covid,  Philadelphia had delayed applications for gun permits way beyond the state's 45 day legal window for approving permits. In some cases, the gun groups charged, the city had made applicants wait up to 18 months to obtain a license to carry a concealed firearm.

But instead of duking it out in court, the city Law Department under Kenney decided to voluntarily roll over for the benefit of gun owners. The city then voluntarily went to a shorter online application, but at the expense of public safety. 

The city's drastic turnaround and permissive new policies regarding the issuance of licenses to carry concealed firearms is potentially a liability problem for the city, Zecca previously told Big Trial. 

But rather than taking action to crack down on guns on the streets, however, Kenney continues to pander and pass along platitudes. Such as the press release he just put out where he tried to explain why he said he'll be happy when he's not mayor.

"As mayor, I feel personally responsible for the well-being of every Philadelphian, and it’s a weight I carry with me every day — every waking moment," Kenney bloviated. "And I know that far too many residents worry daily about their safety and their loved ones too."

More empty words, Mr. Mayor. Instead of giving speeches, why don't you do something about guns on the street?

Your hand-picked police commissioner is just waiting to do your bidding. All you have to do is call. 

But that might take some will power and some leadership ability. 

Both of which you clearly are lacking.


  1. Kenney Krasner and Outlaw, like the commercial Krasno, Krasno and Onwindinjo. Instead of legal expertise, their expertise is to watch the city burn from their ineptitude

  2. Thanks Ralph. If it wasn't for you, our local Pravda would never report on such facts and instead continue to lead the anti-2A charge. There is much that can and should be done in Philadelphia, but the mayor is an inept "leader" and impotent drunk who thinks he should have just coasted into this position because it was his turn and he shouldn't have had to face the myriad issues plaguing the city. Couple that with a DA who told us exactly what he was going to do that had nothing to do with the sworn duties of his office, and goodness how he has stuck to the Soros script that all Soros elected DAs use. Krasner should not only be impeached but disbarred for his failure to uphold the tenets of his office.

  3. Did you notice when they said police stopped a car with driver when the shooting happened? As people were told to run away, the man was arrested and the car disappeared from the show as questions were raised because of airtight security keeping cars out.

    Then no further mention was made about the supposed arresting of a man. Then we hear about two shots hitting two cops.

    Next, nobody could pinpoint where the bullets came from and no mention was made about the arrested man and his car, both disappeared from the scene!

    Hundreds and potentially thousands running away. A miracle nobody was stampeded to death!

    The miracle story about a cop's hat sucking up a bullet.

    Then Mayor Kenney becomes a jackass for all time!

    Interesting, media paid more attention to the murders of 7 people in a parade near Chicago than in our clownish debacle.

    Mayor is still a jackass.

  4. 2nd Amendment is a permit to carry.

  5. Ralph. I usually love your takes and we agree 99% of the time. But I partially disagree here. I certainly agree with your take on Kenney’s dimwitted comments, but your LTCF angle for this article, I believe is misplaced.

    Based on what I've seen from public reporting, there hasn't been a suspect identified nor is there any indication at this time that the shooter(s) even had a LTCF or was in fact unlicensed. Even if an individual has a LTCF, it does not provide a gun owner carte blanche authority to use a gun. Further, a LTCF doesn't entitle or enable an individual to purchase or obtain a gun, only to carry it.

    I am not surprised there was a significant uptick in LTCF permit applications since the pandemic (700%). Surely the rising crime rate in the City is a catalyst for law-abiding Philadelphians who now want a gun permit to be able to legally carry. The 18-month backlog at the gun permit unit was insane and illegal, especially when the Sheriff or PPD must complete the application and issue the permit within 45 days. I agree that the City's response should not have been to cut corners, but rather increase staff to in order to comply with state law.

    The clause in the statute that you and Mr. Zecca rely on ("An individual whose character and reputation is such that the individual would be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety.") is certainly vague and subjective. As you have described, a host of things could trigger that clause that may not result in an otherwise disqualifying event or conviction (ex. no conviction was obtained; ARD or diversionary programs; dropped/dismissed charges by an MC Judge at a prelim; etc.). But surely the City can and should conduct a thorough background investigation in accordance with state law.

    My ultimate point is this—I don’t see how it is relevant whether or not the shooter(s) obtained a LTCF even when their “character and reputation” may have been “such that [they] would be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety,” and how that would have prevented this tragic event from occurring? An individual who commits a crime with a gun, even if they have a LTCF, does not negate their criminal responsibility if what they did was illegal. Further, you say, “there is something [Mayor Kenney] can do right now to stop the proliferation of guns on the streets of Philadelphia…You can pick up the phone right now, Mr. Mayor, and order your hand-picked police commissioner to stop the big giveaway that's going on right now over at the Philadelphia Police Department's Gun Permit Unit.”

    The issue of rising gun violence in the City and “the proliferation of guns on the streets of Philadelphia” has less to do with who should or shouldn’t have a LTCF (the “bad guys” are always going to carry guns whether or not they have a permit to do so), than it does with the supply of guns (whether legally purchased/obtained, or whether illegally through straw purchases, or "ghost guns"). You don’t need a LTCF to purchase a firearm in the Commonwealth. Rather, the focus of our attention should be on the supply of guns (who is purchasing them, who is supplying them to persons who are felons and/or are otherwise disqualified from possessing a firearm, who is manufacturing "ghost guns," how we can get illegal guns off the streets, better enforcement/prosecution by the DA, tougher sentences).

    To equate that somehow placing more restrictions on obtaining LTCFs will somehow curb gun violence ignores the ultimate issue which plagues our City—which is the supply of guns and the bad guys who shouldn’t possess them. Not having a LTCF will not stop a bad guy from obtaining a gun and illegally carrying it. And having a LTCF, will not negate criminality if an individual uses their firearm in an illegal manner. LTCFs solves neither of those two problems.

    1. Totally agree with your statement. I would like to add the following. Are there numbers out there that show people who do have conceal carry that murdered as opposed to self defense? I would think this number is very low. Maybe I am wrong This is very very important in making Cipriiano arguement. Mr. Cipriano has reported numerous times about Krasner's anti-cop behavoir and the police shortage. Philadelphia in know some ways is the wild west. Can you blame people for carrying?

  6. Ralph,

    The "Big Gun Giveaway," as you call it, is the right of every American to own and carry a firearm for protection. I'm surprised that you, like most liberals, you do not see the difference between legal an illegal guns. The illegal guns are used by criminals in their criminal acts. As criminals have criminal records that do not allow them to have a gun permit to carry, they resort to obtain illegal guns. The number of crimes committed by legal gun owners are few.

    1. I'm no liberal. I do see the difference. But it seems like the wrong time to scrap all of the city's previous safeguards for vetting licenses to carry, such as background checks, fingerprints, and proof of residency. The legal process is now much easier to abuse.

    2. Ralph, They perform a check of police records to see if the applicant has committed a crime, and they do check for proof of residency - you are required to provide utility bill or other documentation with address on it.

    3. No you are not. I received my PERMIT AND I only needed my ID and 25 dollars. Ralph is absolutely correct sir.

    4. I just applied to renew my license, and a utility bill as proof of residency was required. I don't know how you got away with only an ID and $25...

  7. The Supreme Court decision in a strict sense only applied to the NY law but set forth a precedent that has already caused the court to reverse a 3rd circuit decision upholding a gun magazine ban from NJ, more to come probably.

  8. I don't blame people for carrying. I agree that the folks who get licenses to carry historically are law-abiding and that the real gun problem in Philadelphia lies with the armed and dangerous criminal element that our DA routinely lets out of jail.

    That said, I have a problem with a mayor who's always whining about guns but is letting his police department open the floodgates for licenses to carry.

    That kind of a decision should have had more thinking behind it, maybe even some studies, wouldn't you say? Instead, the PPD threw out all the rules strictly for expedience sake, because the Kenney administration lacked the will to fight the gun owner groups in court.

    That makes Kenney in my book both a hypocrite and a coward. Hope you all can understand that.

    1. Nailed it. Zero push back against the lawsuits was a huge mistake. They use the city lawyers for literally every other dumb reason, but not this serious one? They used city lawyers to silence Jacobs from telling the truth about kenney and krasner and outlaw, but couldn’t use them to even fight once to try and keep the permit process what it was. It’s unreal.

  9. Ralph, I always like your perspective but blaming people with permits is not correct. People who carry are consistently the lowest percentage of the population who commit crimes. In fact, it's lower than the percentage of police who commit crimes. We all know this wasn't a law abiding citizen shooting at police. Why is everyone afraid to say that. Also, for the record, the unholy trio of idiots is causing the crime in Philly, not the people who carry concealed.

    1. I believe Mr. Cipriano may be referring to those with no business, whatsoever, of having a gun permit. Maybe the ones who are doing all of the shootings, mayhem, and murder. Those who use guns to murder and maim law-abiding citizens. The ones playing Allen Iverson and his posse on city streets. The ones who, instead of issuing a permit to carry, should be wearing toe-tags in a very large, refrigerated tomb. Some people get their panties in a twist too soon, instead of maybe re-reading what you think you've just read. Ralph is more valuable to us than present Mayor, District Attorney, Police Commissioner, and probably every member of Philadelphia City Council, combined. The absolute entirety of these useless, cowardice slugs couldn't shine his shoes.

  10. Ralph your information is correct. My wife was issued and we were both amazed how at how quickly she was issued and how she needed no information besides the application where as 6 years ago it was a rather long process and she had to submit alot of proof. This time around as you say was not the case. The only thing that remained the same is the unprofessionalism of that place.

  11. It's clear local city leaders believe the worst it gets, the better their chance of getting elected. They could careless black & brown kids are slaughtered in the streets.

  12. I fail to see your argument that unnecessarily hassling by in large law abiding people will have any positive safety impact for Philadelphia. Those who go through the application process must pass a Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) check that is conducted on them, and must go to an inconvenient office location (for most city residents) in order to pick up their Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms. Those who go through this trouble are by in large not the problem in this city.

    Recently a colleague of mine in Philadelphia ran into a problem where this process did not go so smoothly. They applied and it turned out they had an old minor arrest record where there was no prosecution. That record decades later was not relevant to the dangerousness of their character. They had to get a letter from the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia stating that they were never prosecuted in that court to help resolve this. It took months to clear their name. In that time they were denied the right to purchase firearms and obtain a License to Carry.

    They knew there was no record of prosecution or conviction but made them go through the trouble to prove it. A right delayed is a right denied!


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