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White Oak plans repeal of gun law

| Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014, 4:26 a.m.

In reaction to a new state law, White Oak council on Monday unanimously authorized advertising the repeal of an ordinance that prohibits the carrying of firearms on borough property.

Solicitor Krisha Mackulin advised that the choice was to repeal the ordinance or deal with a possible lawsuit from the National Rifle Association. It sets the stage for final action by council on Dec. 15.

“I've not received any notice that we might be sued under this law,” Mackulin conceded, referring to state Act 192.

On Nov. 6, Gov. Tom Corbett signed Act 192 into law. According to the NRA, it is the strongest firearms preemption statute in the country.

Opponents say a law introduced to criminalize the theft of copper pipes and wires was amended illegally to pre-empt gun control statutes in more than two dozen municipalities, including Pittsburgh.

It is to take effect Jan. 5.

“This critical pro-gun legislation (will) ensure that firearm and ammunition laws are consistent throughout Pennsylvania and allows citizens to seek legal remedies against localities whose gun control ordinances exceed state law,” the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action posted when Corbett signed the bill.

On Nov. 10, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Lancaster and five Democratic lawmakers sued in Commonwealth Court.

Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery County, said the bill was amended in violation of the state constitution's original-purpose and single-subject clauses.

All area House members voted for the final version of the bill, which passed, 138-56. In the Senate, Democrat James Brewster of McKeesport and Republican Kim Ward of Hempfield were among 34 who voted for the bill, while Democrats Jay Costa Jr. of Forest Hills and Matt Smith of Mt. Lebanon were among 14 who voted no.

In other business Monday, council approved:

• Advertising an ordinance that will vacate a portion of Center Street Extension south of Rankin Road, allowing residents David and Barbara Funk to acquire a largely wooded stretch bordering their property.

• Sending Twin Rivers Council of Governments a letter expressing interest in the Tri-COG Collaborative's proposed land bank.

• Placing seven properties on a list for demolition.

Mackulin said escrow funds will cover the cost of demolishing fire-damaged structures at 1710 California Ave. and 815 Vermont Ave., while Community Development Block Grant funds would pay to take down 821 Vermont Ave., 2602 Henderson Road, 120 Congress St., 483 McCully St. and 949 Coulter Road.

• Accepting a $1,000 grant from the state Attorney General's office to purchase two portable Breathalyzers.

• Continuing its contract for snow removal in South Versailles.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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