AMBLER >> Amid a nationwide gun control debate, Ambler Borough Council is urging Pennsylvania’s lawmakers to take action.
A unanimous vote during April 17’s council meeting will pass research-based recommendations to Harrisburg in favor of firearm regulation.
“The resolution goes along with Upper Dublin School District, which has passed a resolution in line with what we did,” Borough Manager Mary Aversa said. “Our mayor has long been part of a pro-regulation coalition.”
Current Pennsylvania law prohibits local municipalities from enacting firearm regulations, which has directed matters back to Harrisburg.
“Our resolution is a little more comprehensive than Upper Dublin School District’s,” council member Nellie DiPietro said. “It lists six specific things that we’d like Harrisburg to do.”
Those six action points call upon Congress and the Pennsylvania General Assembly to:
1. Ban the sale of military-style assault weapons, as well as high-capacity magazines or clips that can hold more than 10 bullets at a time;
2. Repeal Section 6120 of the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act (UFA);
3. Raise the minimum age to buy firearms from 18 to 21 years in Section 6110.1 of the UFA;
4. Require all gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms;
5. Require all gun and ammunition buyers to pass a criminal background check, no matter the method of purchase; and
6. Support the availability and funding of mental health treatment so all individuals who are in need of help have sufficient access to such services.
“I’m really proud of it,” DiPietro said. “I was happy that it passed unanimously because it shows we’re in agreement. PA SAFE, a gun violence prevention group, convinced Harrisburg to hold a trial on gun laws last week. As it’s fresh in their minds, lawmakers are going to get a resolution from Ambler, which will hopefully influence any future decisions they might need to make.”
Officials indicated that supportive measures regarding firearm regulation are not a new theme for Ambler Borough.
“This isn’t the first time Ambler has done something like this,” DiPietro said. “In 2010, we had a resolution that was based on reporting stolen guns. Bud Wahl, our former mayor, sent a letter to Harrisburg regarding background checks.
“Our mayor draws attention each year to Gun [Violence] Awareness Day in June,” DiPietro said.
Officials pointed out in the resolution that seven states have assault weapons bans (California, New Jersey, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts and New York), and Pennsylvania does not.
“There were no objections from residents or council members,” Aversa said.
In other matters, council moved a final bamboo ordinance to the planning commission.
“The ordinance will be sent back to the planning commission,” council member Nancy Deininger said. “From there they’ll comment on it, and it’ll go through the Montgomery County Planning Commission. It’ll come back to us with any changes they want to see in it.”
In other business, solar-powered parking meters will be installed in each of Ambler’s three parking lots. According to officials, patrons may purchase up to eight hours of parking using cash, change or credit cards.
“We think they’ll make it more convenient for someone who needs to stay for more than four hours,” Aversa said. “We feel like it’ll help people coming in and out. Next year will be Phase 2 for the side streets, and we’ll decide if we want to put something different in those locations.”
Cost-efficiency was a motivating factor in the borough’s decision.
“If someone’s buying eight hours, it’s definitely worth it in terms of cost-efficiency,” Aversa said. “You’ll still have one-hour parking on Butler Avenue and two-hour parking on the side streets.”
In other news, the Environmental Advisory Council is seeking to fill multiple vacancies. Interested residents may submit a letter of interest and résumé to the borough manager.