More Gun Nonsense in Chester
In the hopes of cutting down the amount of gun violence in the city of Chester, in 2010, public officials passed an ordinance that would require residents to report a lost or stolen gun within 72 hours. The penalty for not doing so is a $1,000 fine and or 90 days in jail.
Chester is one of about 30 municipalities in the state that have passed such a law.
Now a Republican state legislator has proposed a bill that would allow any citizen who is hauled into court on such a charge to recover damages from the charging municipality.
Seems fair to me.
Gun rights protectors argue that such laws are designed to discourage and penalize law-abiding gun owners. They are right.
Gun control advocates say that gun owners should be required to report lost or stolen guns because they are so dangerous when they fall into the wrong hands. They certainly have a point.
And yet, such gun control laws haven't been shown to have any serious effect on gun violence anywhere in this country. They are more designed to allow local politicians to appear to be doing something about gun crime, than actually doing anything effective.
When it comes to regulating guns and imposing laws on their owners, that's exclusively a state power. And even that power is quite limited thanks to the Second Amendment. Being a pro-gun state, Pa. voters do not take lightly to have their gun rights abrogated. When it comes to firearms, President Obama was right about us. We're clingy.
It is hard to believe that the ability to charge gun owners who failed to report stolen weapons will have any impact on gun violence in Chester or anywhere else. To gun rights activists such laws are nothing but the camel's nose under the tent. Once local authorities take it as their right to impose such laws on their citizens, they will attempt to impose more.
Responsible gun owners will and should report stolen firearms. But as one commenter on the story asked, who loses a gun? Guns are not wallets or car keys, which seem to go missing with amazing regularity - at least in my household. People who are constantly misplacing their guns seem to me rare indeed.
Such ordinances will do little or nothing to combat gun violence and should be exposed for what they are; political feel-good, "at least we're doing something" measures. They are also something else; an illegal power grab by local governments. They should be challenged for that reason alone.