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Penn. Passes Crucial Lost or Stolen Handgun Law

HARRISBURG, Penn. – A Pennsylvania appellate court Friday allowed
Philadelphia’s lost or stolen handgun reporting ordinance to stand,
rejecting a challenge by the gun lobby and giving new hope to a
growing, statewide coalition of cities, mayors, City Councils and
citizens who have taken action to pass this common sense reform into

By a 6-1 decision, the Commonwealth Court struck down two
Philadelphia gun ordinances, one dealing with straw purchases, one
dealing with assault weapons, ruling that these laws were pre-empted by
state laws regulating firearms.

However, the Court also
affirmed a lower Philadelphia court decision that had rejected a
challenge brought by plaintiffs backed by the gun industry to three
other Philadelphia ordinances. Those three laws dealt with lost or
stolen handgun reporting; restricting access to guns where a protection
from abuse order is involved; and restricting access to firearms where
an individual is an imminent danger to themselves or others.

Commonwealth Court ruled the gun industry-backed plaintiffs lacked any
standing to challenge those three ordinances, and affirmed the lower
court decision which allowed those ordinances to remain valid.

is a significant decision,” said Joe Grace, executive director of
CeaseFirePA, the state’s largest gun violence prevention organization.
“This decision means lost or stolen handgun reporting remains law in
Philadelphia – and it means it remains law in seven other cities and
towns across Pennsylvania that have passed similar ordinances. It’s a
victory for common sense.”

Allentown, Reading, Pottsville,
Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Harrisburg, and Wilkinsburg have all passed lost
or stolen handgun reporting ordinances into law in recent months, and
the movement by Mayors, City Councils, police chiefs and citizens
across the Commonwealth in support of this reasonable reform is growing
in intensity every day. These eight cities and towns passing lost or
stolen handgun reporting laws collectively represent 2 million

In its decision today, the Commonwealth Court
cited earlier holdings which have held that “the regulation of firearms
is a matter of concern in all of Pennsylvania, not merely in
Philadelphia,” and that the state General Assembly is the “proper
forum” for imposing gun regulations.

“We agree with the
Commonwealth Court,” Grace said. “We’ve said all along that gun
violence is a statewide problem – not a Philadelphia problem. And the
issue of reporting lost or stolen handguns to the police is an issue
that must be resolved by the Pennsylvania General Assembly. This
decision today reaffirms our position. Our focus remains the same - to
bring this growing, statewide coalition of cities, towns, Mayors, City
Council members, police chiefs, faith leaders, citizens and others to
the General Assembly to demand that they pass lost or stolen handgun
reporting as a common sense reform to protect every Pennsylvanian.”


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