BOOM IN THE SUBURBS
For the past six months it has been illegal to buy a rifle, shotgun or pistol in Philadelphia without a police permit. The would-be hunter must supply photographs of himself, fill out a form, be fingerprinted and wait at least 20 days for police to find out if he is a criminal, an alcoholic or a nut. Has this reduced crime? At this stage, no police official will say so. For one thing, any would-be buyer can go to a nearby suburb and buy his gun there. It is illegal to bring the weapon back into Philadelphia without a permit, but hundreds must be doing just that because gun sales in the city are off as much as 90% in some stores and there is no evidence that Philadelphians have given up hunting or target shooting to that extent.
"Actually," said Chief Inspector Harry Fox, "we already have had more homicides than in all of 1964 and from the top of my head I'd guess that about 40% involved guns. But the number of homicides has kept climbing every year and we have no way of knowing whether this year's rate is any lower than it would have been without our effort to keep guns out of the hands of irresponsible persons."
As of mid-October, 1,472 permits had been issued (gun sales previously averaged 2,600 a month) and 43 applicants were turned down. A J.C. Penney store in the suburbs reported it is selling twice as many weapons as it did before the Philadelphia law went into effect.
It would not take a Philadelphia lawyer to prove that this law has been about as effective as the 18th Amendment.
RED TAPE ON THE GREEN
There is a possibility that Jack Nicklaus can never become a Class A member of the Professional Golfers' Association of America—and thus never be able to play on the U.S. Ryder Cup team or be eligible for the Vardon Trophy. The trophy is awarded to the PGA member with the lowest scoring average for 80 rounds or more of "official" PGA tournament play in each calendar year.
Nicklaus has been competing on the PGA tournament circuit as an "approved tournament player" for the past four years while fulfilling his five-year probationary period for Class A membership. But this year he will be unable to compete in the minimum of 25 PGA events required in each of the probationary years because, when he mapped out his tournament schedule for 1965, he included the scheduled Miami Beach Open as the 25th and last of his required tournaments. But the Miami Beach event was canceled (the sponsors were unable to come up with the $55,000 purse) and Jack found that his crowded itinerary for the rest of the year would permit him to make no substitutions.
Last week he asked the 14-man executive committee of the PGA to make an exception in his case. If it should rule against him, it probably means that he will never become a Class A member of the PGA, because, like Arnold Palmer and Gary Player, he plans to play in considerably fewer U.S. tournaments in the future. Nicklaus has made a real effort in the past four years to meet the PGA requirement and become a Class A member.
Something must be wrong in a system that would keep the country's best golfer from full membership in his own PGA.