Sunday, November 30, 2008

Councilwoman: "Who really cares about it being unconstitutional?"

From the Keystone State:
Pittsburgh City Council gave its first approval today to legislation requiring that anyone report a lost or stolen firearm report that within 24 hours or potentially face a $500 fine.

The 6-1 vote, with two abstentions, sets up a final vote likely next week, which would send the legislation to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl for his signature or veto, and then potentially to the courts, where similar measures have been challenged.

"Who really cares about it being unconstitutional?" said Councilwoman Tonya Payne, a supporter. "This is what's right to do, and if this means that we have to go out and have a court battle, then that's fine ... We have plenty of dead bodies coming up in our streets every single day, and that is unacceptable." [emphasis added]

The lone no vote was by Councilman Ricky Burgess, who argued that it would be a "false cure" that would be "particularly cruel" to his violence-plagued northeastern Pittsburgh district.

"This legislation will not strike a blow to straw purchasers," he said. "This ordinance will not be enforced, no loopholes will be closed and no lives will be saved, because no municipality can legally regulate firearms of any kind, at any time, for any reason."

Article here. The sad part isn't that Councilwoman Payne doesn't seem to care whether the laws she votes for passes constitutional muster, or that she (presumably) took a solemn oath to support said Constitution, but that she will likely suffer no ill effects from such an outrageous statement.

Meanwhile, in Easton, PA, the city council rejected a similar ordinance proposed by that town's mayor:
City council resoundingly defeated a measure Tuesday that would have required the owners of lost or stolen handguns to report the missing firearms to police.

Council members Ken Brown, Elinor Warner, Pam Panto, Roger Ruggles and Sandra Vulcano voted against requiring that residents must report a missing handgun within 24 hours of discovering the gun lost or stolen. Violators faced a $1,000 fine or 90 days in prison.

Mayor Sal Panto and Councilman Jeff Warren voted in favor.

Panto introduced the measure in October as part of a coalition of eight mayors backing identical laws meant to send a message to Harrisburg about the need for stricter gun laws.

Despite a legal opinion from the city solicitor that the law would prove indefensible in court, the mayor pressed on Tuesday with the vote. Panto even said the city wouldn't pay to defend the law should someone challenge it.

"Why have an ordinance that doesn't hold up in court?" Ruggles asked.

Article here.

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