Thursday, November 20, 2008

Council Members, Public Mull Over Lost Gun Ordinance

Pittsburgh City Council today held a public hearing on a proposed ordinance which would require gun owners to report a lost or stolen weapon to police within 24 hours. The legislation is part of an effort to reduce the straw purchasing of firearms. Several community members offered their insight on the bill including Mary Beth Hacke whose son was killed by a stray bullet from an illegal firearm. She says some action must be taken to prevent firearms from falling into the wrong hands.

Council seemed to be in support of the ordinance. However, Councilman Ricky Burgess cautioned that the measure, if passed, would not likely take effect immediately and instead land council in court. He says passage of the ordinance would be a "symbolic movement" intended to incite state action on the issue.

The city of Philadelphia is currently engaged in a legal battle over an identical bill in which the court is trying to determine whether the local ordinance can supercede state law, which dictates all handgun legislation. Previously, a state bill similar to the proposed Pittsburgh and Philadelphia ordinances, was voted down in the House.

The council ordinance is to be voted on in committee on Monday, and a final vote on the bill is slated for Tuesday, December 2nd.

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