Reading Passes Lost & Stolen

Reading, Pennsylvania has passed its own Lost and Stolen ordinance, in addition now to Philadelphia, Allentown, Pottsville, York, and Pittsburgh, in defiance of statewide preemption.

Making a straw purchase of a gun already is a violation of Pennsylvania law, but it is a difficult law to enforce because it is nearly impossible to prove that a buyer obtained a weapon for someone who is not permitted to have one.

The reporting law is much easier to enforce. A gun is seized by police after the commission of a crime and traced back to the original buyer, who either reported it missing or faces some difficult questions from police and prosecutors.

So the media freely admits this law is means to lower the states burden of proof.  Anyone who fails to report is automatically assumed to be guilty of straw purchasing, rather than someone who might now have known about the law, or who might not have discovered the gun had gone missing, or in the midst of a stressful burglary investigation, forgot to mention it to police.  We are going to have a hell of a fight on our hands this legislative session to keep a lid on this, but we must.  The state doesn’t get to deal with this issue by making assumptions of guilt.  This is not how a free society is supposed to operate, and it’s a shame the media isn’t reporting this side of the story.

7 thoughts on “Reading Passes Lost & Stolen”

  1. If it’s a handgun, yes. Transferring a handgun privately in Pennsylvania is a crime. It has to be done through an FFL or the County Sheriff.

  2. Is there a clause about having to do it within 24 to 72 hours after noticing said firearm is missing? NJ has this, and in my opinion makes the law sort of a joke in my opinion.

    But ultimately, as I try to explain to fellow shooters in PA who support these laws, and what the municipalities are doing, I feel it’s a way to smash PA preemption law, by starting with small stuff that the vast majority of people will believe in, regardless of how they roll.

  3. So will each and every one of these local laws now have to be challenged in the state courts? Good lord … who has the resources for that?

    If PA state law is meaningless and/or unenforceable, each and every one of these cities is going to start passing all kinds of these restrictions, hand over fist.

    Is this some sort of local civil disobedience? A local anti-gun law revolution of sorts?

    Rule of law my ass.

  4. Why isn’t the PA AG coming down like the hammer of God on these cities and towns? Doesn’t the state have the right to go and arrest those passing such laws in clear violation of existing PA preemption statutes?

    Preemption is a good thing. You can argue that it only exists to concentrate power and control at the top but it has the side effect of ensuring a citizen only has to remember (mostly) one set of rules.

    Local control is one of the razor blades the anti-gunners use in their “death by a thousand cuts” strategy. Sure everyone may agree on just this one local exception but they often don’t see that it will stop there. We do because we’ve been there. But as I read elsewhere, the limits of reality are not the limits of your imagination. Just because someone says “that’s all we’re after” and you can never imagine that someone would ever go beyond your definition of “reasonable” doesn’t mean that they ever won’t. They often do much to our chagrin and misfortune.

    This type of think has to stopped hard and fast. If the state wants local control and there is genuine citizen support for it, lobbying the state to repeal or change the preemption law.

    But the solution is not this underhanded way of passing illegal laws and then wasting taxpayer dollars to fight it or waiting for the state to smack their hand.

    Once we lose enough respect for the “rule of law” with an exception here and an exception there, suddenly we have none at all.

  5. Matt: there is no penalty in the law for violating preemption, so he doesn’t have much power to do anything. If they try to enforce these laws, then we can challenge it on preemption grounds.

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