CNN Covering L&S Controversy in Pennsylvania

Transcript here, and here’s the relevant expert, with the part I’d like to comment on bolded at the end:

Right now, there’s a major fight going on at the local level over a new law that’s intended to keep guns out of criminal hands. Critics though say it’s just another case of legislating against the legal and responsible gun owners. Ed Lavandera is on the gun trail for us this morning.

It’s a very emotional issue, Ed.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, absolutely, Kiran. You know, we spent the last two mornings talking about how guns are illegally trafficked across the country and out of the country. I wanted to take a look this time at a possible solution. And so we to Pennsylvania where it is becoming a very controversial issue.


JANA FINDER, CEASEFIRE PA: So you get tired of hearing people complain.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Jana Finder says not enough is being done to keep illegally trafficked guns off Pennsylvania’s streets. This might be the heart of northeastern gun country.

FINDER: To report their handguns when they’re lost or stolen to the police.

LAVANDERA: But Finder, along with a group called Ceasefire PA has launched a grassroots campaign to get local governments to sign on to what’s become a highly controversial law called “Lost and Stolen Ordinances.” Supporters of gun rights hate it. The ordinances require gun owners to report if their weapons have been lost or stolen usually within 24 hours.

FINDER: There is very strong support for lost concerns because they have told us that this kind of requirement would give them another investigative tool to help crack down and reduce the numbers of illegal handguns in our streets.

LAVANDERA: Finder says these laws target the number one source of guns for criminals, people with clean records who buy guns then supply them to street criminals, the so-called straw purchasers.

(on camera): The battle over straw purchase ordinance is being waged across small towns all over Pennsylvania in city council chambers like this one here in Duquesne.

(voice-over): Duquesne’s city council was one of the latest to get behind it. So far 25 Pennsylvania cities have adopted the ordinance.

MAYOR PHIL KRIVACEK, DUQUESNE, PENNSYLVANIA: I think that doing this gives us a chance of maybe to reduce violence in the city.

LAVANDERA: That maybe in the mayor’s answer is what infuriates Kim Stolfer and his gun rights activist group called “Firearms Owners Against Crime.

KIM STOLFER, FIREARMS OWNERS AGAINST CRIME: To come up with an idea and adopt it based on, well, it might work, is ridiculous. We wouldn’t get into an airplane that might fly. There is an awful lot of laws relating to firearms. The real problem here is that it’s not illegal to lose a firearm. It’s not illegal to have it stolen. But they want to prosecute you for being in that situation.

LAVANDERA: Supporters of the Lost and Stolen Ordinance say it’s a way of keeping a tighter watch on guns that go missing.

Gun control advocates say images like these are playing out too often across Pennsylvania. Six law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty last year alone. This funeral honored Officer Michael Crenshaw who was murdered with an AK-47 in this neighborhood outside of Pittsburgh. Investigators say the suspect was wearing an ankle bracelet, a parolee on drug and gun charges.

So far more than a hundred police departments have come out in support of the Lost and Stolen Ordinances.

CHIEF HOWARD BURTON, PENN HILLS POLICE: Most of these ordinances that are being passed…

LAVANDERA: But not everyone in law enforcement thinks it’s the answer. Penn Hills Police Chief Howard Burton says “lost or stolen” is just another feel good law that wouldn’t have saved Officer Michael Crenshaw.

BURTON: We still have to realize we’re dealing with a criminal element. No matter how many laws that are out there, there’s still going to be broken.


LAVANDERA: So about a year ago is when this movement started gaining steam there in Pennsylvania. And as far as we’ve been able to put together, no one has been prosecuted or convicted of this Lost and Stolen Ordinance, which obviously drives critics crazier. But the supporters of this say it’s still early. Some of those ordinances have been tied up in lawsuits and other police departments they say are still trying to figure out exactly how to implement this, Kiran.

So it’s freely admitted no one has been prosecuted, and the police have no idea how to implement it, even though this is supposedly vital for fighting criminal trafficking of guns in Pennsylvania? None of the lawsuits have stopped the locates from enforcing the ordinance.

This is a load of crap if I’ve ever seen one.

11 thoughts on “CNN Covering L&S Controversy in Pennsylvania”

  1. What happens if I leave on a weekend getaway Friday, my home is robbed Saturday morning and I don’t get home until Sunday evening. Am I a criminal for being robbed?

  2. I just doubt very seriously whether lost or stolen can ever be enforced. I do not believe that straw purchases or stolen guns make that big a difference in the crime. There has always been a plethura of weapons on the street, so many in fact that criminals are now renting guns to their homies for crime. If stealing one was that easy then why rent one at all.

  3. @Illeix — I believe that part of the bill includes the wiggle room “would reasonable know” or something to that effect. If you’re out of town, you wouldn’t reasonable know until you came back in town.

  4. Oh and just to be clear.

    I think the law is a load of BS. The criminals are not deterred by the fact that they are breaking “one more law”

  5. I see the famous AK47 boogyman was brought up. Turns out it was really a MaK-90 AK clone, and not full auto.

  6. The L&S supporters are actually BANKING on the fact that the law can’t be enforced. If it can’t be enforced, then it can never be challenged and removed by the courts, because the Judiciary will claim that anyone who petitions them lacks standing. This is a way for the legislative bodies below the state level to do an end-around not only on preemption, but also on the checks and balances in government. If the Judiciary can’t act because the petitioners lack standing, then the ONLY way to have these illegal laws stricken is more legislative action; it puts the power and control solely in the Legislative branch of government, something which is extremely dangerous.

    This is why Philly politics are so important statewide; the precedents established there set the stage for everything that has happened since. When the 5 Philly gun control ordinances were passed a few years back, the courts threw out 3 (maybe 4) of them. One of the ones that DIDN’T get thrown out (because of lack of standing) was L&S. What happened in Philly has become a template for gun control groups like MAIG to propagate facially illegal laws/ordinances. Such groups cry about “loopholes”, and they are technically exploiting one themselves to the detriment of out liberty. You don’t see these towns proposing any of the ordinances that were thrown out, because they know the same would happen. But L&S became a “loophole” they could latch onto.

  7. Methinks the time for being respectable at council meetings is past, and it’s time to tell Councilman Schmuckatelli that his bill is a load of bull shit, and it stinks, and we’re going to shout from the rooftops that it was Councilman Schmuckatelli who sponsored and voted for this pile of ineffective, unenforceable bull shit every chance we get.

    But then, I’m not that respectable …..

  8. Amend the bills to also require that rape victims report the rape. After all, if we’re going to make people responsible for
    doing LE job why stop at guns?

  9. RobertM said:
    “Amend the bills to also require that rape victims report the rape. After all, if we’re going to make people responsible for
    doing LE job why stop at guns?”

    That’s actually an interesting point, Robert, because technically, L&S laws are unconstitutional. When one reports the gun lost or stolen, they are already in violation of the law, which means they are incriminating themselves to report it. Hence, this law is a violation of the 5th amendment, as to be in compliance with the law, one must incriminate themselves.

    Of course, once again, to get this thrown out by the Judiciary, one must have standing. And as I stated in my previous post, the gun control advocates are counting on the difficulty of enforcing this law so that no one ever has standing to challenge it.

  10. ChmbrdRd,

    As I point out here, there might be a way.

    If the citizen who reports a lost or stolen firearm does so outside of the time limit, he can demand to be charged. If he isn’t, he can point to the hypocrasy in passing the law. If he is charged, then he has standing to challenge the law.

    Win-win in my book.

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