HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — AP is reporting… Pennsylvania lawmakers began a process Wednesday to study Philadelphia’s growing gun violence plague, establishing a panel that could eventually recommend impeachment of the city’s elected Democratic district attorney. The divided House of Representatives voted 114-86 to establish the five-member Select Committee on Restoring Law and Order, which among other things could judge District Attorney Larry Krasner’s job performance and make “recommendations for removal from office or other appropriate discipline, including impeachment.”
The proposal was sponsored by Republican state Rep. Josh Kail of Beaver County, who two weeks ago announced plans to seek the impeachment of Krasner, a staunch progressive who was easily reelected last year despite the city’s spiking homicide rate. Four Democrats and one Republican crossed party lines. “The bottom line is this, all the laws in the world don’t mean a thing if we don’t have district attorneys that are willing to enforce them,” Kail said during floor debate. Krasner spokesperson Jane Roh said the resolution showed “House Republicans’ support for the NRA’s agenda and complicity in gun violence due to their enabling of unrestricted flooding of firearms into every county in Pennsylvania.”
Democratic opponents of setting up the committee noted that Republicans have not taken similar action against GOP district attorneys with recent criminal charges or convictions, that their efforts to address gun violence have been utterly blocked in the Republican-majority General Assembly, and that targeting Krasner would not be an appropriate use of impeachment power. “To think that in this moment, when we do actually have a gun violence crisis across the commonwealth, that we would come here and play these types of political games is really frustrating, and it’s an affront to folks in communities across Philadelphia who are desperate for solutions,” said Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Philadelphia.
Rep. Martina White, the only Republican House member from Philadelphia, said shootings and killings have increased steeply during Krasner’s tenure in office. She said Krasner’s job performance is “not just about charges that are brought, it’s about the cases that are being withdrawn, cases that are tossed aside, victims that haven’t seen justice for a family member.” Speaker Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, will pick the committee’s three Republican and two Democratic members.