HomeGunsHouse Committee Shines a Light on "Soft-on-Crime" DAs and Politicians

House Committee Shines a Light on “Soft-on-Crime” DAs and Politicians

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The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee held a field hearing in Philadelphia focused on the rampant and continuing crime problem plaguing the city. There might not have been a better choice of location to which Congressional Representatives could travel.

Philadelphia is a major metropolitan center and like many others saw historic surges of crime in the past several years, with the City of Brotherly Love marking an astonishing record 526 homicides in 2021. It’s also a city in a state that already receives high marks from Giffords for its gun control laws placing strict restrictions on law-abiding Pennsylvanians.

The top law enforcement official in the city, the George Soros-backed District Attorney of Philadelphia Larry Krasner, received a lion’s share of the attention at the hearing, and deservedly so. His reaction to seek out media and blame-shift after last year’s horrific tragedy that unfolded in Philadelphia after a mentally unstable man fired randomly, killing five innocent bystanders reveals why he’s arguably the country’s most notorious example of a soft-on-crime prosecutor, edging out fellow Soros-backed Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón for the title.

Several members of the Judiciary Committee made it clear they stood on the side of law enforcement and the rights of law-abiding Philadelphians, not on the side of criminals and coddling prosecutors like Krasner.

Dereliction of Duty

The House Judiciary Committee’s visit to Philadelphia was the fourth and latest visit to a major city to investigate and highlight why crime remains historically high and a major concern for city residents.

“Philadelphia’s pro-criminal policies embolden criminals, while victims failed to receive the justice they deserve,” stated Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). “Krasner uses his office to crusade against what he considers ‘social injustices,’ such as bail reform and reduced sentencing. However, his policies came at the expense of victims and lost lives.”

Witnesses invited by the majority to testify included Terri O’Conner, whose husband was killed by a criminal with a long record who had been charged with multiple crimes in the previous years, including carrying a firearm without a license. That criminal remained free for various reasons, including prosecutors’ decisions not to seek jail time for parole violations and to drop a drug charge, she told the committee. She teed off on DA Krasner’s dereliction of duty to protect city residents.

“We have a district attorney who says crime is down. Well obviously if you don’t prosecute criminals, of course, it appears that way. How many second, third, fourth, and even more chances are to be given?” she said. “My husband could still be here today if these men were prosecuted the way they should’ve been and behind bars.”

The parents and widow of Temple University Police Sergeant Christopher Fitzgerald – who was killed in 2023 – were also among those who attended the hearing and spoke.

“He is part of the problem,” said Joel Fitzgerald, Officer Fitzgerald’s father, said of the district attorney. “He opens that door. He creates the recidivist opportunities.”

“My daughter-in-law Marissa is now a widow and must now raise their children as a single mother. This defendant broke a two-parent home, leaving our grandchildren fatherless,” added Pauline Fitzgerald, Officer Fitzgerald’s mother.

Following the hearing, the district attorney had the audacity to criticize the victims and their families who spoke. He ridiculed them, saying, “I was not able to watch this hearing. I was actually doing my job, which is to fight crime, but it appears my job is also to fight stupid,” said DA Krasner. “What you are seeing there is political theater.”

It was DA Krasner’s dereliction of duty and crass and dismissive attitude toward crime victims that led to his impeachment by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in November 2022. Impeachment proceedings stalled before a Democratic-controlled senate.

Opposite of Reality

Unsurprisingly, Democratic lawmakers on the Judiciary Committee, as well as gun control activists who also testified, believe more gun control laws are the answer rather than holding those already breaking the law to account. There was plenty of hyperbole about gun rights and outright lying about gun safety facts repeated with the goal of pushing more gun control.

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Penn.) was none too pleased to have the committee in her home state. She declared the proceeding was a “traveling circus” and made a suggestion that is the opposite of reality.

“Let’s make one thing clear,” Rep. Scanlon began. “Contrary to the statistics cited by the chairman, violent crime in Philadelphia has decreased dramatically in recent years and our entire country continues to face a daily epidemic of gun violence.”

Congresswoman Scanlon is wrong on several points here. First, even local media covered the fact that Judiciary Chairman Jordan was clear about the crime rates in Philadelphia. “They [Chairman Jordan and House Republicans] acknowledged that the number of homicides and some other crimes have been falling sharply, down to 410 killings last year, and that homicides so far this year are 35% lower than in the same period of 2023,” wrote Billy Penn, a local nonprofit newsroom. “But they said current rates are still high by historical measures and reflect a trend that began after Krasner took office in 2018.”

In Rep. Scanlon’s mind, Philadelphians should mind their manners and just accept that crime is “still high by historical measures.”

To the second part of Rep. Scanlon’s remark – that the country continues to face a daily epidemic of gun violence – the congresswoman is ignoring the data currently seen in cities large and small across the country. Crime rates – specifically gun crimes committed by those breaking the law – are falling nearly everywhere from the high marks of the past few years. What she’s also dismissing is that the trend is concurrently occurring while a historic number of law-abiding Americans, including several million first-timers, have purchased firearms over the same stretch. In fact, April 2024 marked the 57th month in a row of 1 million or more FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) verifications.

To Rep. Scanlon and other gun control activists crowing about fact-checking falling crime rates, you can’t then also dismiss the large number of new gun owners taking their own security into their hands. That includes 3.9 million Pennsylvanians just since 2020, according to NSSF-adjusted NICS data.

Gun Control Kitchen Sink

House Republican members continued to make the case that it’s criminals, and repeat criminals, that are driving the crime surge in cities and Philadelphia’s DA Krasner is unwilling to confront that violence. Holding criminals accountable for their crimes and putting them away behind bars would immediately make the city safer. It’s a similar argument that was recognized in another city facing its own crime crisis – Washington, D.C. There, U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves revealed a recent crime report and that they are focused on “targeting a relatively small group of people driving most of D.C.’s gun violence; including as few as 500 identifiable people, many of them involved in neighborhood crews or cliques, who are responsible for 70% of the city’s shootings.”

But back in Philadelphia, gun control allies on the Judiciary Committee like Rep. Scanlon, U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Penn.) – who recited the gun control favorite lie that guns are the number one cause of death among children, Rep. Deborah Ross (D-N.C.) and Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) continued ignoring the criminals and instead pushed for more gun control restrictions. They all pushed for more, stating violence intervention programs need funding, universal background checks and extreme risk protection orders (ERPO or so-called “red flag” laws) are needed, restrictions on home-built firearms or so-called “ghost guns” must be passed and more. These are all the same federal laws that Democrats pushed when they held majorities beginning in 2021 in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, along with a sympathetic President Joe Biden, and couldn’t even pass and implement on their own.

For half of the House Judiciary Committee, rights matter. Protecting and ensuring the Constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans is sacrosanct and it’s the job of prosecutors to put those who break the law behind bars. For the other half of the committee, the problem is the gun – an inanimate object.

Plenty of other American cities are seeing crime rates go down as criminals are punished for their violence. In the City of Brotherly Love, unfortunately, Philadelphians are stuck with DA Krasner and politicians who skirt their responsibilities.

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