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Aliquippa City Council has voted unanimously to pass an ordinance requiring that lost or stolen firearms be reported to the police, upon discovery of their absence. Aliquippa is the 17th in a string of Pennsylvania cities and towns to adopt lost or stolen handgun reporting, and part of a growing movement of mayors, Council members, police, faith leaders and citizens across the Commonwealth who support this commonsense reform.
PA towns that have already taken action in support of lost or stolen handgun reporting:
Philadelphia • Allentown • Pottsville • Pittsburgh • Reading • Harrisburg • Wilkinsburg • Lancaster • Erie • Homestead • West Homestead • Clairton • Oxford • Braddock • Munhall Easton • York • Duquesne • Heidelberg • Castle Shannon• Aliquippa
Under the new law, Aliquippa gun owners will have 72 hours to report a lost or stolen firearm missing to the police, from the time its loss or theft is discovered. Penalties my include fines up to $1000 or imprisonment for up to 90 days.
Mayor Anthony Battalini, a member of the Pennsylvania coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, recommended the ordinance as a step to encourage responsible practices among law- abiding gun owners -- and to assist law enforcement in cracking down on straw purchasers and traffickers. The Mayor praised the council for taking action to reduce the proliferation of illegal guns. "Aliquippa is a town with a rich hunting tradition,” Mayor Battalini said. “But we recognize that there is a gun violence problem in our community and around the state. As officials elected to protect our community, it is our duty to consider and put in place measures like this.”
CeaseFirePA President Phil Goldsmith praised the decisive action of the Aliquippa Council. “We’ve seen mayors and councils across the state step up and take action to address the danger of illegal guns in their communities,” Goldsmith said. “Most crimes committed with guns are committed by individuals who are prohibited from having them. If this law keeps one gun out of the hands of a dangerous criminal – it’s a success. CeaseFirePA will continue to work with cities and towns across the Commonwealth to pass this reform – and we hope the General Assembly is paying attention. Reform is happening beneath their feet - all across Pennsyvlania – and it’s coming to Harrisburg.”
This summer, Mayor Battalini was attacked by the NRA for his commitment to pursuing remedies to reduce the proliferation of illegal guns -- and his belief that it is possible to do so without infringing on the Second Amendment. Rather than backing down from his position, Mayor Battalini stood up for his community and pushed forward with lost or stolen. "I am a gun owner, but I don't work for the gun lobby – I work for Aliquippa,” the mayor said. “It is my job to do what is best for the safety and prosperity of this community. I am not against guns – I’m against illegal guns.
Earlier this fall, Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Pawlowski sent a letter endorsing lost or stolen handgun reporting, applauding the cities and towns that had already taken the important step, and encouraging the Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition to continue pressing for statewide reform to reduce the proliferation of illegal guns.