NRA appeals Pittsburgh lost, stolen gun statute
By Bobby Kerlik
Published: Saturday, July 10, 2010,
The National Rifle Association reloaded and fired off another attempt Friday to strike down Pittsburgh's lost-or-stolen gun ordinance.
The NRA is appealing a June ruling from state Commonwealth Court that upheld a city ordinance requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen guns to police within 24 hours of discovering they are missing.
The NRA asked for a larger panel of state Commonwealth Court judges to hear the case. A three-judge panel ruled 2-1 against the gun group and four Pittsburgh gun owners.
"I think there are some issues with the majority opinion, and it needs to be reconsidered," said Meghan Jones-Rolla, an attorney for the NRA.
City Councilman Bruce Kraus said he's not surprised the association is appealing. He said the ordinance helps curb straw purchases.
"It's the NRA. They're going to have their position," Kraus said. "If you can eliminate straw-purchase handguns, you can keep handguns out of the hands of (criminals)."
Straw purchases involve people with clean criminal records who buy weapons and give them to criminals. The purchasers claim the weapon was stolen or lost if it later is used in a crime.
The latest court ruling upheld a decision by Allegheny County Common Pleas Senior Judge R. Stanton Wettick, who dismissed the NRA's challenge, ruling it lacked legal standing to bring the challenge in April 2009 because the ordinance had not affected the organization or the other four plaintiffs.
Commonwealth Court last year dismissed the challenge to an almost identical lost-and-stolen-gun ordinance in Philadelphia.
"If the NRA is appealing to the full Commonwealth Court, we expect them to lose there just like they've lost five other times in courts across Pennsylvania," said Daniel Vice, senior attorney for the Washington-based Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which represented the city.
Jones-Rolla said the previous decisions are unfair because they require that in order to challenge the ordinance, a person must risk criminal sanctions by disregarding the law.
"Why should you have to waive your right to self-incrimination to get standing?" she asked.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Beer black market exploits enthusiasts, ignores law
- Justices to hear critical software case
- Dems to overlook probe of nominee
- Pearl Harbor survivor keeps story alive
- Wind-power companies won’t face federal prosecution in eagle deaths
- Navy deems drone launch from submarine success
- FBI: Russian diplomats lied to get U.S. benefits
- GOP unlikely to block ban on plastic guns
- Baker ordered to serve gay couples
- Earnings vary wildly by major, team says
- Traffic tickets — and revenue — plunge in Dallas