Lancaster Pennsylvania mayor Rick Gray is outraged. Outraged I tell you! The state legislature is debating a law which would punish municipalities for breaking the law. Pennsylvania has statewide gun law preemption which means that local governments can’t make and enforce their own gun laws, which in turn means that gun owners can drive from one town to another without worrying that they will be breaking the law somewhere on the trip. Only one problem . . .
But the preemption law hasn’t kept a number of Keystone State cities from passing various, well, illegal laws. A particular favorite is the “lost or stolen” law which requires gun owners to inform police within 24 (or sometimes 48) hours of discovering a missing weapon. The ostensible idea behind these laws is similar to the “one-gun-a-month” laws; to keep straw buyers from plying their trade.
Practicality and reality aren’t mainstays of hoplophobes’ thinking. Nor, apparently, is following the laws themselves. The thought of having to actually face consequences for their scofflaw regulations is enough to break through the purple sky of their make-believe world and so they are kicking up a fuss at having to actually obey the laws.
Gray noted the opposition to the measure from the state’s law enforcement community.
“Quite frankly, I think it’s pathetic that they pander to people whose interest is not public safety, but some ethereal interest in the right to a gun,” the mayor said.
He condemned the legislators for penalizing cities financially rather than responding to the financial crisis many Pennsylvania cities are facing.
In the words of my friend’s Tia Anna, pobrecitos.
Meanwhile, here’s the kicker: philly.com reports that the cops aren’t even enforcing the mandatory reporting requirement anyway. Does that mean they want to see the back of it? Does it hell.
Lt. Raymond Ever said the lack of citations doesn’t reflect any conscious decision not to enforce the ordinance.
Rather, “straw purchasers,” people who buy guns legally and then sell or give them to criminals, already face strict penalties when caught, so “a minor fine” piled onto the punishment they already face isn’t needed, he said. In Philly, people who don’t report a lost or stolen firearm within 24 hours face fines of up to $2,000 and 90 days in jail.
So . . .
Citations aren’t the point, Evers added. Rather, the ordinance serves as a public-education tool and incentive “to the good guys, the 99 percent of gun owners who are very, very responsible” to report lost or stolen firearms immediately.
So it’s an unenforced (perhaps unenforceable) punitive law designed to “educate” lawful gun owners about a requirement which has no appreciable effect on public safety. So now you know.