How does Lost & Stolen Legislation Affect Preemption?

What is Preemption? And Why Should Gun Owners Care?

Pennsylvania, like all but two states, has what is commonly referred to as a “preemption” statute, which prevents local municipalities from passing ordinances on the topic of firearms. In Pennsylvania, this state law is found in 18 Pa.C.S. ยง 6120 which states:

(a) General rule.–No county, municipality or township may in any manner regulate the lawful ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of firearms, ammunition or ammunition components when carried or transported for purposes not prohibited by the laws of this Commonwealth….

The purpose of this statute is to make sure that the laws related to firearm ownership are consistent throughout the state, similar to motor vehicle laws. It is already very difficult for the average gun owner to comply with the many thousands of gun laws that exist at the federal and state level. Without preemption it would be nearly impossible for someone without a law degree to go on a simple hunting trip.

Lost & Stolen ordinances are part of a wider and coordinated effort by gun control groups to weaken preemption laws, and attack the very constitutional foundations of gun ownership in the United States through a patchwork of difficult to comply with regulations that make gun ownership risky and unpredictable for those who choose to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

Do People Support Preemption Laws in Regards to Firearms?

Recent polls show that the vast majority of people in Pennsylvania support preempting local governments from enacting their own ordinances regulating firearms. The Polling Company found in an October 2009 poll that a majority, 56% of Pennsylvanians, support the Pennsylvania General Assembly being “the only body of government to establish gun laws here in Pennsylvania.” Given this strong level of support from residents, it’s odd that so many municipalities would be willing to go against the wishes its residents and agree to pass illegal ordinances.