On Friday, the Lancaster Mayor and City Council had some harsh words for the NRA.
“We will never be bullied ever be bullied into not doing whatever we need to do to defend our people,” said Lancaster City Council Member James Reichenbach.
Lancaster City officials are pushing back against the National Rifle Association. The group filed a lawsuit against three Pennsylvania cities, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Lancaster on Wednesday. The suit challenges the cities’ gun laws claiming they’re unconstitutional. In Lancaster, the NRA is challenging an ordinance requiring residents to tell police if a gun they own is lost or stolen.
“All they have to do is convene a session of their city council, repeal these ordinances, pass it to the mayor and he signs it. It’s totally within their control and exclusively within their control how expensive this gets,” said Jonathan Goldstein, an attorney for the NRA.
Mayor Gray says no way. "We're not backing down. We feel strongly that we comply with the state statute and that they will lose this lawsuit," he added.
But if the NRA wins its lawsuit, Lancaster will have to pay all of the association's legal fees. The city is setting up a fund, with former Mayor Arthur Morris being one of the first donors. "I'm happy to contribute a thousand dollars today to the fund," Morris said.
Mayor Gray later matched that amount. "I would say to any gun owner not to be concerned about our actions. We in no way intend to infringe on their rights to lawfully possess or use a firearm," said Gray.
The state's largest gun violence prevention organization says this is about public safety.
"It was never meant to be a 'gotcha' for the law abiding gun owner who gets their gun stolen. It was meant to be a tool to keep those illegal guns off the street, to keep them out of the wrong hands," said Shira Goodman, Executive Director for CeaseFirePA.