But that same day, city voters got it right: By a margin of 4-1, they approved a nonbinding ballot measure urging state officials to grant Philadelphia more leeway in its efforts to reduce gun violence.
The measure's approval should be seen as a barometer of citizens' frustration. In recent years, the city has witnessed a sickening series of shootings, some claiming the lives of children not yet out of elementary school.
The names of the slain youngsters weren't listed anywhere on the primary ballot, but the 65,000 voters who approved the gun-safety measure delivered a quiet tribute to their memory. One vote for Faheem . . . one for Khynief . . . one vote for Robert . . . one for Mecca . . .
As proposed by City Council members Darrell L. Clarke and Donna Reed Miller, the ballot measure never was expected to deliver many votes in the state legislature. Under Harrisburg's Capitol dome, most meaningful gun-safety efforts are viewed - incorrectly - as an undue infringement on gun owners' rights.
But there was some hope that Rendell's commission would have urged the adoption of the one-gun-a-month measure - if not actually granting the city the right to tighten local gun rules. Dating to his tenure as mayor, Rendell has supported the idea and it's backed by local police and Mayor Street.
Instead, the commission headed by Philadelphia lawyer Walter M. Phillips Jr. suggested hearings be held on the thornier proposals. That's not exactly a trailblazing recommendation.
Along with that, the commission suggested a menu of expanded anti-violence efforts that - while worthwhile - haven't slowed the killing yet. Do policymakers, for instance, need a statewide survey of emergency-room injuries to establish that gun violence is rampant? Hardly.
At least, the panel's majority took a vote. Meanwhile, several Republican members, including Attorney General Tom Corbett and state Rep. Dennis O'Brien (R., Phila.), wouldn't endorse even these tepid measures.
Harrisburg's message on Philadelphia gun violence remains the same: Drop dead.