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Munhall council to repeal gun law

Michael DiVittorio
| Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2014, 1:06 a.m.

Munhall councilors are preparing to repeal an ordinance regarding lost or stolen guns.

The law, which is set to come off the books next month, requires gun owners to report their lost or stolen weapons within three days after noticing they are missing. It was passed about two years ago.

“Firearms are regulated by the state, and there (were) challenges raised to these local ordinances, whether or not local governments have the authority to regulate firearms,” borough Solicitor Greg Evashavik said at this month's council meeting. “Recent legislation confirms that they may not.”

Act 192, signed by Gov. Tom Corbett on Nov. 6, permits residents and organizations such as the National Rifle Association to sue municipalities that enact their own gun restrictions that exceed state law.

Those individuals or organizations could have the towns pay legal fees should the lawsuit be successful.

“In an excess of caution, many municipalities have decided it's not a fight that we can afford to take on,” Evashavik said.

“It's not something I ever intended to do,” Councilman Bernie Shields said of repealing the ordinance. “The borough can't afford any lawsuits. It's the smart thing to do.”

Council president Dan Lloyd said the ordinance should not have been adopted in the first place.

“This law was passed as a crime prevention measure,” he said. “It does absolutely nothing to prevent crime, as a gun used in a commission of a crime can make an unknowing victim out of an innocent person whose gun was stolen. I made a passionate argument against passing it, but if it sounds good and feels good, and it's popular, council will enact it rather than take the time to analyze the workings of an ordinance. I was the only no vote.”

West Mifflin council earlier this month rescinded its lost or stolen gun ordinance. Homestead council is expected to do the same at its January meeting.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or mdivittorio@tribweb.com.

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