City Council passes law on reporting stolen guns
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Pittsburgh City Council gave final approval today to a requirement that gun owners report the loss or theft of a firearm within 24 hours of becoming aware that it is missing.
The vote was 6-1 after a lengthy debate in which Councilman Ricky Burgess, the lone no vote, argued that the measure runs counter to state law that generally bars local firearms laws. "An inconvenient law may be an inconvenient truth, but a law nevertheless," he said.
That logic failed to sway a council clearly grasping solutions to an ongoing rash of shootings.
Gun violence, said Council President Doug Shields, "cuts our neighbors to ribbons. It cuts our children down. It kills grandmothers on porches."
The measure is aimed at deterring so-called straw purchasers from buying guns, selling them to criminals who can't pass the needed background check, and then claiming the weapons were lost or stolen when police capture them and trace them back.
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said he hasn't decided whether to sign the measure. His other options are to let it become law without his signature, or veto it, though it passed by a veto-proof margin.
Failure to report the loss or theft of a gun, if discovered, could bring a $500 fine. A second unreported loss could bring a $1,000 fine and as much as 90 days of imprisonment.
First Published December 2, 2008 1:11 pm