Norristown’s municipal council recently repealed a four-year-old law requiring residents to report lost or stolen firearms within forty-eight hours. Earlier this month, Gov. Corbett and the Pennsylvania legislature adopted House Bill 80, which gives special interest groups or individuals the necessary legal standing to sue state municipalities over such lost-or-stolen reporting laws.
State Rep. Warren Kampf (R-157th District) voted against the bill. “I voted against it because I believe the way we handle challenges to our state law or our local law makes sense,” he said. “If some municipality has a law and it is enforced against that person, then that person appeals the law. As a country we have been doing that for decades and centuries.”
Kampf also objected to the bill’s provision that a municipality being sued would be required to pay a plaintiff’s legal expenses.
State Rep. Todd Stephens (R-151st District) voted for the bill, but takes issue with the way in which it took shape. “I thought it was unconstitutional in the way it was assembled. It started out as a bill about scrap metal and it ended up as a bill about scrap metal, the transmission of mental health status for individuals from the Pennsylvania State Police to a national firearms background check data base and allowing access to the courts to question the constitutionality of local ordinances on notifying police about stolen firearms.”
Gun violence prevention advocates, including CeaseFirePennsylvania, are preparing to challenge the law before it takes effect in January.