Thursday, April 16, 2009
Governor Rendell says the death of three Pittsburgh police officers is the latest sign law enforcement officials are being "outgunned." In response he is calling on state and federal lawmakers to pass what he calls "common sense" gun control measures. He is asking lawmakers to support a new federal assault weapons ban, which would bar weapons like AK-47s, with which Richard Poplawski fired on police. Right now, Pennsylvania' local governments are banned from enacting gun control legislation. Rendell says that needs to change. He says there also needs to be a law requiring owners to report to police the loss or theft of a gun. “That's about as plain and common sense-ical as anything you can think of. So we're not trying to make this hard. I'm not trying to make this hard. I think we start there. We start there. And by starting there we say, look-these are reasonable things. Let's see how they work, and then we'll come back and review them,” says Rendell. The governor made a similar push last year, but the bills never passed. Pittsburgh has toyed with tighter gun laws but has been thwarted at the state level. Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl joined Rendell at yesterday’s news conference. He says if that measure passes, he'll push for several gun bills in Pittsburgh. “Potentially one gun a month. This is just me speaking-things that make sense. … [W]ho needs to purchase more than twelve guns in a year?” Said Ravenstahl. He went on to say, “If the events last Saturday morning in Pittsburgh don't change our mind, I don't know what will. Three innocent police officers that were there to protect the community walked into an individual that was armed with an AK-47, an assault rifle, and were literally ambushed. Had no chance to defend themselves.” Reading Democrat Thomas Caltagirone, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee through which any gun legislation, needs to pass. He says he's pessimistic any firearms measures can clear the General Assembly.