News & Politics

Philly Lawmakers Seek to Ban Bulletproof Glass in Liquor Stores

The city of Philadelphia is working on regulating so-called “stop and go” liquor stores (because what else do progressive, big-city lawmakers do besides try and make it difficult for folks to live their lives and run their businesses).

A controversial bill under consideration would require liquor stores to pull down the bulletproof glass they currently use to protect their clerks. After all, liquor stores are often prime targets for robbery. The glass keeps clerks safe, at least to some extent, and now it needs to come down.

City Councilwoman Cindy Bass proposed the legislation, seeking to regulate the small stores in her district that she claims sell liquor but little else.

“Nuisance establishments like stop-and-gos harm neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia in several ways,” Bass told Philly Mag. “First, they contribute to increased crime. On any given day, you can find people in front of these businesses selling ‘loosies,’ or loose cigarettes, and engaging in other nuisance behaviors like loitering, public drunkenness, possible drug sales, and even public urination.”

But the bill proposed reads, in part: “No establishment shall erect or maintain a physical barrier.”

“Right now, the plexiglass has to come down,” Bass said.

And there’s nothing in the bill that will limit the regulation to just these small liquor stores.

Deli owner Rich Kim opposes the bill, arguing that such a physical barrier saved his mother-in-law’s life when she was attacked by a knife-wielding attacker. “If the glass comes down, the crime rate will rise and there will be lots of dead bodies,” Kim said.

Kim thinks the bill unfairly targets Korean store owners. “I do think it’s a bad bill that will endanger Korean Americans,” he said.

Look, we can disagree all we want about the proper role of government, but can’t we all agree that if a law will actually cause people to die, then it’s a bad idea? Seriously, how can anyone look at this part of the proposal and not think, “You know what? This is going to get people killed.”

As it stands, it looks like every clerk in Philly will need to buy a handgun and carry it while at work (in accordance with all applicable laws, of course). Yes, you may get fired if you have to use it, but you can always get another job. What you can’t do is get another life.

If you follow politics long enough, you stop being surprised by the stupidity that politicians think constitutes a good idea. But don’t mention that out loud. Officials like Councilwoman Bass are starting to take it as a personal challenge.