Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gun Theft Reporting Law

(West Mifflin, Pennsylvania) Amid strong opposition, the West Mifflin Council passed a gun theft reporting law this week.
The ordinance, which passed Tuesday night by a vote of 6-1, states, "Any person who is the owner of a firearm that is lost or stolen shall report the loss or theft to the West Mifflin borough police department within 72 hours after discovery of the loss or theft."

Councilman Richard D. Olasz Sr. cast the lone dissenting vote.

It also sets penalties of no more than 30 days imprisonment and/or a fine of no more than $1,000 for violation of the ordinance. A copy is available at the borough office.

"I am in favor of citizens' rights, laws and ordinances that make sense," Constable-elect Jeremy Stillwagon said. "This ordinance places a law-abiding citizen in danger of being jailed. This ordinance has one major flaw in it, and it is stated that a victim of a theft has 72 hours to report it from the time it was discovered. All a person has to say if they did sell a gun illegally is they just discovered it was stolen. Last time I checked, criminals lie. At this point, what good is the ordinance if that's all they have to do?"
I tend to agree with Mr. Stillwagon. The law appears to be unenforceable. Nevertheless, West Mifflin is just one of several communities to adopt the ordinance this year.

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