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Gun bill is bad news for municipalities(PA barf alert)
lancasteronline.com ^ | 11 June, 2012 | BERNARD HARRIS

Posted on 06/12/2012 11:06:39 AM PDT by marktwain

A measure that would open Lancaster city and other municipalities to lawsuits from gun advocates is moving forward in the state Legislature.

Senate Bill 273, first proposed last year as an extension of the "castle doctrine," has been rewritten and reintroduced with language allowing lawsuits against cities, townships and boroughs that attempt to regulate guns.

In the cross hairs of the bill are ordinances passed by Lancaster and 29 other municipalities that require gun owners to report if their gun has been lost or stolen.

Lancaster City Council passed its ordinance in 2009 in an attempt to address illegal gun sales to convicted felons and others who are prohibited from having a gun. After such a "straw man" purchase, the seller might claim the gun had been lost or stolen.

The initiative from municipalities across the state came after the General Assembly failed to pass a statewide measure in 2008.

Along with the 30 municipalities that adopted ordinances, another 19 approved resolutions calling on legislators to pass a state lost-or-stolen gun-reporting law.

Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray, who backed the local initiative, said the bill would invite frivolous lawsuits.

Under the measure, a municipality could be required to pay the legal expenses of and damages to those who file lawsuits against it, even if the municipality repeals its ordinance.

Even if the municipality was successful in court, it would still lose, Gray said, because of the legal costs of defending ordinances.

The bill comes as municipalities across the state are struggling financially, Gray noted.

"The whole idea is to scare municipalities and bludgeon us to keep us from doing anything against illegal guns," the mayor said.

Backers of the measure contend the municipalities are in violation of a state law that gives the Legislature the sole authority to regulate the lawful possession of firearms.

Gray said the key word is "lawful." When a gun is lost or stolen, the person who has it is not in lawful possession of it, he said.

Because of that, Gray said he does not expect Lancaster will repeal its ordinance.

Max Nacheman, director of CeaseFirePA, the gun-control group that promoted the local ordinances, said the bill is likely to pass the House this week. Because it has new language added to a previously passed Senate bill, it likely also will pass the Senate without a hearing.

Some smaller municipalities may be intimidated enough to repeal their ordinances, he said.

Sen. Mike Brubaker, who represents northern Lancaster County, was a cosponsor of the original version of the bill. His name remains attached to the bill with the new language.

Brubaker said the bill goes beyond the lost-or-stolen handgun ordinances. It holds municipalities accountable for any ordinance in which local officials have overstepped their authority, he said.

"I am a gun-rights advocate, and I support the Constitution," Brubaker said. "I don't think we should have local laws in violation of the state law."

He said it also challenges local bans on having guns in municipal parks, which some municipalities have passed. (Gray said no such ban exists in Lancaster.)

Addressing the lost-or-stolen-gun reporting mandate, Brubaker said that previously was debated at length in the Senate.

"Some gun owners will lock their guns in a cabinet — that's where they all ought to be kept. If someone else has access to that key, they may not know that one of those guns is missing for months or years," Brubaker said.

If the gun owner isn't aware that a gun is missing, should they be prosecuted for that? the senator asked.

Gray said the city ordinance requires reporting of a missing gun within 72 hours after it is discovered missing.

"It's a responsibility that comes with a right of having a gun," Gray said.

He maintained responsible gun owners would not object to the requirement.

Gray said his concern is for city police officers who could encounter someone in possession of an illegal handgun.

A third and final House vote on the bill could come Tuesday.

A reconciliation vote would follow in the Senate.

Sen. Lloyd Smucker, another cosponsor of the original bill, said Monday that he was unfamiliar with the added language and could not comment on it.

bharris@lnpnews.com


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Government; News/Current Events; US: Pennsylvania
KEYWORDS: banglist; constitution; pa; scofflaw
The intent of these laws passed by the cities seems to be to discourage gun ownership by making ownership legally dangerous.

Some people in the state legislature seem to be taking their oath of office seriously.

1 posted on 06/12/2012 11:06:53 AM PDT by marktwain
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To: marktwain; Lazlo in PA
Yeah, this has been going on in Pennsylvania for a while now. Lib strongholds like Philly and Pitt, as well as smaller cities like Lancaster, want to pass anti-gun laws, but can't because of PA's Preemption statute, which forbids them from passing laws that are stricter than those of the Commonwealth and reserves ultimate authority for things like the 2nd Amendment with the legislature.

This is just more whining and an effort to get around Commonwealth preemption which will go no where.

2 posted on 06/12/2012 11:12:44 AM PDT by Timber Rattler (Just say NO! to RINOS and the GOP-E)
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To: marktwain

Pennsylvania has a pre-emption law that does not allow local municipalities to have their own gun laws.

This current legislation is meant to put the screws to liberal cities, like Philadelphia, that harass honest firearm owners and concealed carry holders.

The liberal media uses the Lancaster example in a vain attempt at sympathy.


3 posted on 06/12/2012 11:16:50 AM PDT by Erik Latranyi (When religions have to beg the gov't for a waiver, we are already under socialism.)
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To: marktwain

I live in Lancaster. I carry my gun regularly. Thanks for the heads up.


4 posted on 06/12/2012 11:17:25 AM PDT by justice14 ("stand up defend or lay down and die")
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To: marktwain

It’s really simple: Pennsylvania’s preemption statutes means what it says. Municipal officials who violate it, and officers who enforce illegal regulations, should do so at their own peril.


5 posted on 06/12/2012 11:20:53 AM PDT by PapaBear3625 (If I can't be persuasive, I at least hope to be fun.)
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To: justice14

My parents live down by Park City mall, outside the city proper. From what I’ve seen over the years Lancaster is becoming a festering crap hole. I don’t want to be a racist but it sure has to do with “demographic shifts”. Sure, downtown proper is nice but the rest seems out of control. The German club moved because that neighborhood got so bad. It really is a shame.


6 posted on 06/12/2012 11:21:11 AM PDT by TheRhinelander
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To: marktwain

How does knowing that somewhere out there in the nation there is a stolen gun going to protect a policeman?

As far as traceability, probably the first thing a thief would do is FILE OFF THE SERIAL NUMBERS....

DUH! or is it DOH!

If the municipalities get away with it, PA is no longer the cradle of Liberty, but the hatchery of servile, spineless serfdom.


7 posted on 06/12/2012 11:24:51 AM PDT by Huebolt (It's not over until there is not ONE DEMOCRAT HOLDING OFFICE ANYWHERE. Not even a dog catcher!)
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To: marktwain
Logical disconnect here. The article says in one place:

In the cross hairs of the bill are ordinances passed by Lancaster and 29 other municipalities that require gun owners to report if their gun has been lost or stolen.

and further down says:

Gray said the key word is "lawful." When a gun is lost or stolen, the person who has it is not in lawful possession of it, he said.

But the law is not aimed at the person unlawfully in possession, it is aimed at the gun owner.

8 posted on 06/12/2012 11:26:44 AM PDT by PapaBear3625 (If I can't be persuasive, I at least hope to be fun.)
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To: marktwain
The initiative from municipalities across the state came after the General Assembly failed to pass a statewide measure in 2008.

When the legislature preempts local laws, and the legislature declines to approve a regulation, then that means that localities also are not allowed.

9 posted on 06/12/2012 11:28:50 AM PDT by PapaBear3625 (If I can't be persuasive, I at least hope to be fun.)
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To: TheRhinelander

I don’t go into the city much. Maybe for food once in a while. Or a concert. Other than that, I avoid it. I live about 2 minutes from the city though. I’m outside of it enough to be happy.


10 posted on 06/12/2012 11:29:49 AM PDT by justice14 ("stand up defend or lay down and die")
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To: marktwain

The Philly dems/mafia ran Harrisburg for a LONG time.

They sucked more money from the rest of the Commonwealth to Philly than was to be believed.

They have lost ALL of it. They have NO power in Harrisburg now.

Expect alot more laws like this

HEY PHILLY - YOU HAVE TO LIVE LIKE THE REST OF US AND FOLLOW THE LAW and ALSO LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS.


11 posted on 06/12/2012 11:33:06 AM PDT by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - they want to die for islam and we want to kill them)
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To: PapaBear3625
But the law is not aimed at the person unlawfully in possession, it is aimed at the gun owner ...
Exactly, either this article has been horribly written, or the entire controversy makes no sense. And how is immediately knowing a gun was stolen going to afford a measure of protection to cops or the community?
12 posted on 06/12/2012 11:52:52 AM PDT by Old North State
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To: Old North State
And how is immediately knowing a gun was stolen going to afford a measure of protection to cops or the community?

The law is aimed at straw-purchasers. A straw-purchaser will buy a gun, and then sell it for cash to somebody who cannot buy a gun legally. If the gun is recovered in a crime, and the official purchaser is asked how the gun she bought wound up at a crime scene, she'll just say "Oh, I guess it was stolen".

The law would also be aimed at people who don't give up their guns if government agents arrive to confiscate their guns. "Where are your guns?" "Not here, I guess they were stolen. Bye".

13 posted on 06/12/2012 12:08:10 PM PDT by PapaBear3625 (If I can't be persuasive, I at least hope to be fun.)
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To: PapaBear3625; Old North State; justice14; 2banana

“Where are your guns?” “Not here, I guess they were stolen. Bye”

“Where are your guns?” “At the bottom of the lake. I lost them all in a boating accident, last summer. Bye.”


14 posted on 06/12/2012 1:47:45 PM PDT by carriage_hill (All libs & most dems think that life is just a sponge bath, with a happy ending.)
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To: PapaBear3625; All

This is old but good: Gun Registration is Gun Confiscation

An excerpt “If you have reported the gun stolen, and it is then found in your possession, you can be charged with obstruction of justice.”

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2608785/posts


15 posted on 06/12/2012 2:04:24 PM PDT by marktwain
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