Appeals court rejects challenge to city's lost-gun law

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State Commonwealth Court today affirmed a ruling that dismissed a lawsuit challenging Pittsburgh's lost and stolen gun law, deciding that the National Rifle Association and four individual plaintiffs lacked the legal standing to bring the case.

The city of Pittsburgh enacted the ordinance in question in 2008, requiring residents to report lost or stolen firearms within 24 hours of discovering they are missing. Violators face a $500 to $1,000 fine or 90 days imprisonment.

The NRA and four local gun owners sued the city in 2009, arguing that the ordinance violated state law, which bars municipalities from regulating the lawful ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of firearms.

After Allegheny County Judge R. Stanton Wettick Jr. tossed out the suit, the NRA moved to reinstate the case. In April, lawyers argued before a Commonwealth Court three-judge panel. The decision was released today.

In a six-page majority opinion, Judges Bonnie Brigance Leadbetter and Rochelle S. Friedman affirmed Judge Wettick's decision, ruling that the plaintiffs had not established the substantial, direct and immediate interest required to challenge the law.

Judge P. Kevin Brobson dissented, writing that the lower court's analysis of the plaintiffs' standing was "unnecessarily restrictive."


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