With Philadelphia homicides nearing the 300 mark this year, District Attorney Lynne Abraham again asked the state legislature for toughter gun laws, especially making it more difficult for people to make “straw” purchases of handguns, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’s another mechanism for law enforcement to intervene in illegal trafficking of firearms by people who murder people,” she said. The bill also would address the potential effect of a one-handgun-a-month law by commissioning a study to determine whether multiple firearms purchases contribute to more gun crimes. John Hohenwarter, a National Rifle Association lobbyist, said the bill “has some merit” and that the group would consider supporting some elements of it.
Meanwhile, Rep. Harold James has called a meeting of state and local elected officials Monday in Mayor John Street’s office to find ways to expand the role of the Pennsylvania National Guard in curbing violence in Philadelphia. James, a former police officer, said he was not proposing that the Guard patrol the streets, but envisioned them providing technical support for criminal investigations.