Oct 2, 2008

Feel-Good Law and Hypocrisy

As Allentown is racked with shootings and police standoffs, City Council passed a silly, feel-good lost-gun law that won't help fight rising crime. Mayor Pawlowski said, "This bill can help close a loophole which is allowing illegal guns to flow onto our streets." Law abiding citizens have always reported lost and stolen guns. The notion that "straw purchasers" will comply with the law is absurd. District Attorney James Martin opposed the ordinance because gun laws are under the jurisdiction of State law. The mayor said we must go over the head of state law, to find solutions to our problems, even if the legislation gets overturned. Last year, the same mayor opposed illegal-alien laws, because he claimed they were under federal jurisdiction.


Anonymous said...


All things considered this vote at least does no harm to the city. In light of council’s miserable record of misbegotten votes these past eight years one can take small comfort in that fact.

Scott Armstrong

Squirrel said...

How out of touch with reality can one be.

Ah yes - the world of city council rotates on an axis of denial in an orbit of deceit.

A successful vote finally.

Now lets all go belly up to the bar for some home made brew at the local speak easy.

Anonymous said...

Will DA Martin enforce a law adopted by the city government despite his "opposition" to its passage? I read somewhere that Martin said he wouldn't. Similar to what Philly's DA said about a gun control law proposed there earlier this year, when she said the city was overstepping its authority. I thought the courts were the ones who decided whether a law was enforceable, not an elected official like a DA.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5:05 -

While I am no fan of DA Martin, I commend him for his stance on this issue. The law is clearly unconstitutional (even proponents admit it will have to go to court), and the DA has an obligation to uphold the Constitution.

If this is a clearer example for you, what if the city were to pass a law against free speech? Should the DA enforce that just because it was passed by the idiots in Allentown government? I would hope not.

Anonymous said...

this sounds like the perfect sort of legislation for a michael donovan ...and others, too ...in that it sounds good...won't work ...but will make its supporters seem like the great humanitarians they pretend to be.

Anonymous said...

8:47, consider this: how do you define free speech? No offense, but I want neither you nor the DA to define free speech. That's why they have courts (and appeals courts). Also, consider that if the DA never enforces the law then there's no test case to be heard in court, so no one can say if the DA is wrong or right. Finally, I read in the MC the DA is threatening to charge police officers with a crime if they dare enforce a law that the DA disagrees with. Is it me or is something wrong here? Anon 5:05

M Trilli said...

I stood before Allentown city council and handed them the state laws concerning firearms during the city council meeting
Aug 6th. I was there because I was threatened with arrest by an Allentown police captain for violating a city ordinance concerning firearms (734.01)which clearly goes against P.A. state law.
To this day nothing has been done to remove this law from the books nor was it "looked at" as the council said they would do. This after I heard the city solicitor tell them the ordinance was illegal. It seems the mayor and council of Allentown prefer to think they rule over their own little kingdom and show it by now enacting another illegal and unenforcable law.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:05 -

I don't want an out-of-control city government to pass laws that they know are unconstitutional and then have to pay an attorney to defend myself against the unconstitutional law in court. I don't have unlimited resources, but the city does and can tax at will to get more.

I am happy that the DA has the common sense to keep average citizens from having to go through that. As an Allentown taxpayer I am happy that his stance on the issue might help keep the city from being sued.

Bottom line - the law in question is nothing more than political grandstanding, does nothing for public safety, and could end up costing taxpayers $$$ in terms of attorney fees and lawsuit payouts.

That's all in a day's work for Allentown government.

Anon 8:47

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:47,
I'm an Atown taxpayer, too. I like the idea that an effort is being made to take guns off the street. I'm not an Alan Dershowitz, but what I know about Con law is that the govt. has constitutional (police) authority to pass laws that affect public health and safety. I view this ordinance as a tool to punish criminals who traffic in weapons.
But my largest concern is that a DA (and not just Martin, but Philly's as well) can decide on his own to ignore a law and threaten police officers who enforce that law. Isn't that a slippery slope?
Anon 5:05

Michael Donovan said...

Hello M Trilli:

I specifically asked about your concerns, and we have all agreed that that section of the ordinance needs correction. It was written in 1962, and no one has ever addressed its absurdity. I noted the problem this summer, and yes, it has not been fixed yet.

And to those who feel that I am a do-gooder, the law has nothing to do with the U.S. Constitution or the Commonwealth's constition. Those wonderful documents guarantee right to keep and bear arms or to possess arms. They also note for a "well regulated militia" and "self defense." Those are important and vital to the safety of our citizens.

When lost or stolen, they are no longer in possession. The right to have something also comes with duties and obligations. Firearms in the wrong hands are a safety factor for citizens. If the "People" (read the constitution) provide someone with a right and that right involves safety of the people, then owners of firearms have a responsibility, duty, obligation to report when the firearm is no longer in their possession.

This is a debatable item for the courts.

Thank you, and I love "doing good."

Best regards,


Joe Hilliard said...

Scott, This irresponsible act will cause harm to the city. I suspect the NRA will file suit and challenge this in court.

Micheal Donovan,

The court's have already decided this issue in PA courts several times already. They just reaffirmed the position in the Philly case. I know Allentown has problems understanding the law, but come on, it was in the papers.

Stop trying to "do-good" and balance our books without using "credit cards".

Bernie O'Hare said...

A few points,

1) The DA, and not the mayor or A-town city council, enforces the laws.

2) If the DA says he will refuse to enforce law X, that law is dead.

3) DAs do make the decision which laws they consider unenforeceable, ad DA Martin is simply doing his job.

4) Passing a law after being told that it is unenforceable by the county's top crime dog is pure politics. It is just political posturing and in no way address the real problem against which it is supposedly aimed.

Anonymous said...


Is it really “doing good” if it does nothing at all?

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Just read the MC editorial on this business. Naturally, I agree: Mayor Martin doesn't single-handedly decide the law, that's for a court to do. To those attending the church of the 2nd amend., it's called separation of power. Ain't democracy a bitch?

Anonymous said...

Michael Donovan wrote:

"I specifically asked about your concerns, and we have all agreed that that section of the ordinance needs correction. It was written in 1962, and no one has ever addressed its absurdity. I noted the problem this summer, and yes, it has not been fixed yet."

Mr. Donovan you are a fraud.

Isn't it funny that you "noted the problem this summer", admit it hasn't been fixed, and still vote for a piece of legislation which adds more to that section of the city's ordinances.

If you had any real concerns, you would have insisted that the existing unconstitutional sections of the code be removed before adding more.

It's funny how you have been "noting" the problem since summer yet the new sections were drafted and rubber-stamped by council in a matter of weeks.

Again, you are a fraud.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 6:20, i almost deleted your comment. i think the combination of posting anonymously and calling someone a fraud goes beyond the concept of fairness. talking of fairness, the vote to pass this ordinance was 7-0. michael donovan is the only councilman willing to publicly defend his vote, both on his own blog called "inclusions" and elsewhere, such as this blog. i commend him for exceptional availability.

Anonymous said...

MM - Anon 6:20 here

I appreciate your not deleting my comment. I realize the vote was 7-0.

My comment has to do more with this particular Councilman using this venue (as well as his own Inclusion blog) to promote the idea that he is willing to listen to all sides and act accordingly.

What I have seen, in my opinion, is nothing more than lip service and the appearance of listening to the other side. When it comes time to vote, it is along the party line.

Along those lines, I'm sure that this Councilman's committee will soon announce the "conclusion" about how much the Allentown home inspection law was needed and how much it has helped the city.

I'm sorry if my original comment seemed overly personal. I'd prefer that those who represent me are honest about what they believe and how they vote instead of trying to appear as if they are deliberating each issue and listening to all sides.

Anonymous said...

i totally agree with previous poster. the blog in question's name should change from "Inclusion" to "CONCLUSION" as this Councilman's (make that Councilor's) mind is usually made up before the debate and conversation even begins. what a phony! he goes through all these intellectual gyrations just to do what he was planning to do all along....and that is vote blindly with the administration.