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A Philadelphia Congresswoman Clings to Her Gun Control Delusions Even After Being ‘Carjacked by Reality’

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pa
Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pa. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

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By Cody J. Wisniewski

Some people move away from utopian thinking after being “mugged by reality.” The latest evidence of this can be seen in leftists belatedly embracing the right of self-defense amid spiking violent crime rates and a dipping police presence.

But for some truly committed ideologues, even experiencing a literal armed robbery fundamentally changes nothing. Instead, it reinforces their fantasies of “common sense” gun control that would counterintuitively stop criminals and (supposedly) make us all safer.

Such is the case for Pennsylvania Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon. Scanlon was the victim of a recent carjacking, as well as her own truly astonishing ideological blindness.

On the afternoon of December 22, near FDR Park in Philadelphia, Rep. Scanlon was threatened by two armed men who took her vehicle and other possessions. The crime drew national coverage, with some noting Scanlon’s support for a 2020 bill that would replace some police with “mental health professionals.”

Instead of being chastened by the experience, however, the congresswoman held a press conference at which she doubled down on her naïve and dangerous ideas about crime, especially her desire for more gun control.

Credit where it’s due: Rep. Scanlon did get one thing right. She acknowledged that “no one should have to experience this lawlessness.” Unfortunately, her remarks were all downhill from there.

Scanlon remained unshaken in her view that crime was mostly a problem for social workers to respond to, as she renewed the call for more government-funded “mental health services.” Unsurprisingly, the press hasn’t pushed her to explain how an armed carjacking, by multiple men in broad daylight, would have been thwarted through the intervention of “mental health” professionals.

Above all, Scanlon seemed focused on scapegoating guns and calling for more gun control, using the Orwellian language of “common sense gun safety measures.”

Ultimately, what this sort of “gun safety” means is you, the ordinary citizen, can’t have one, even if criminals do, and even if people like Rep. Scanlon regularly benefit from personal armed security, often paid for at taxpayers’ expense.

There’s zero evidence that authoritarian gun laws improve public safety. And Scanlon’s “City of Brotherly Love” offers a case in point. Philadelphia already has incredibly strict gun laws, the most restrictive in Pennsylvania. And gun control hasn’t made the city safe. It is in fact notoriously violent, surpassing its own all-time homicide record in 2021. By any standard of real “common sense,” Rep. Scanlon’s “common sense gun safety measures” are already a failure in Philadelphia.

Doggedly impervious to such facts, the congresswoman rebounded from her brush with death by repeating the stalest of stale partisan talking points.

“During the press conference,” Newsweek reported, “Scanlon spoke about a discussion she had with President Joe Biden following the incident, where she expressed frustration over not being able to get Republicans to pass ‘common sense gun safety measures like background checks, like doing away with ghost guns.’”

For all the rhetorical fog around these issues, the truth isn’t hard to see—and Rep. Scanlon could see it if she wanted to.

The truth is this: if someone is willing to carjack a woman at gunpoint, the week before Christmas, during daylight hours, they are not going to be stopped by a background check, or by a ban on so-called “ghost-guns,” or by any other law at all. It should go without saying that carjacking a person at gunpoint is already very illegal in Philadelphia.

The kind of person who is willing to threaten someone’s life for their car is more than willing to acquire a gun illegally and do whatever they want. Stricter laws don’t stop those who already break laws—they only stop peaceable Americans from defending themselves from criminals.

Instead, the way to stop a criminal is to exercise the natural right of armed self-defense—a right Rep. Scanlon still shows no regard for, even as she frets about “lawlessness” that “no one should experience.”

It is very fortunate that Rep. Scanlon is safe after the carjacking incident. What is unfortunate that her absurd, immoral policy ideas have survived this brush with reality.


Cody J. Wisniewski (@TheWizardofLawz) is the director of Mountain States Legal Foundation’s Center to Keep and Bear Arms. He primarily focuses on Second Amendment issues but is happy so long as he is reminding the government of its enumerated powers and constitutional restrictions.

To learn more about the Center to Keep and Bear Arms’ work and support their fight for your natural right to self-defense—from both man and tyranny—visit and donate today.

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