2008-10-23 / Local & State

New Pa. Bill Makes Gun Laws Tougher


PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Pennsylvania's gun laws got tougher Friday as Gov. Ed Rendell signed a bill increasing the mandatory sentence for anyone convicted of shooting a firearm at a police officer and for crimes committed with illegally purchased guns.

The bill raises the sentence for anyone who shoots a firearm at a police officer from 10 years to 20, with a maximum of 40 years.

It also aids prosecutors by increasing the statute of limitations from two years to five years for "straw purchase'' cases, referring to federally prohibited transactions in which one person fills out legal forms and buys a gun for someone who cannot own firearms, such as convicted felons.

It also prevents mentally ill individuals from buying guns and raises the penalties for lying when filing federal paperwork to buy a gun and for filing a false report of a stolen gun.

The bill was supported by legislators, city officials and the National Rifle Association, but still has one flaw: It lacks a requirement to report a lost or stolen firearm.

"We need to make it a crime for failure to report a lost or stolen gun - no ifs, ands or buts,'' Rendell said.

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