The York City Council on Wednesday tabled a controversial gun proposal at the request of the mayor, despite four council members saying they oppose the legislation.
The proposal, introduced by Councilwoman Toni Smith and backed by York Mayor John Brenner, would require gun owners to report lost or stolen guns within 72 hours.
The legislation was aimed at cracking down on straw purchasers who illegally give or sell guns to others. Supporters said it would also encourage the state legislature to take up the issue, but opponents said it would criminalize victims and face costly legal challenges.
Smith asked Wednesday that the proposal be tabled, citing the city solicitor's opinion.
Councilman Cameron Texter said solicitor Shaleeta Washington gave council an opinion saying it would be best to wait because of a state law that prohibits municipalities from making their own gun laws.
Council President Joe Musso argued against tabling the proposal.
"We've caused quite a flurry with this legislation," he said. "I think it's a cop out."
Musso said the mayor knew the legal issues involved. He called tabling the proposal "a political move" so the council would not vote it down.
"It was a mistake to begin with and an embarrassment to this council that we were led down this path," he said.
Texter, who has also said he opposes the legislation, disagreed.
"We should not fear having any kind of discussion," he said.
The council should respect the mayor's request to table it, Texter said. That would keep pressure on the state legislature, he said.
"We at least send the message that this is an important issue," Texter said.
York City Police Commissioner Mark Whitman encouraged council to wait until the courts have decided the issue.
Waiting "is not going to hurt us," he said.
Councilwoman Genevieve Ray said Musso convinced her the council should vote.
"We have a responsibility to let the public know where we stand," she said. She would have voted against the law, she said.
Council Vice President Carol Hill-Evans said she would not have voted for the law, but she gave her word that she would agree to table it.
Council voted 3-2 to table the proposal, with Musso and Ray dissenting.
Brenner said later in a phone interview that he wanted the bill to be tabled because more legal information was being gathered.
If council members didn't like the proposal, they should have offered other suggestions, he said.
"Your job as legislators is to come up with ideas," he said, adding that council needs to address "lost and stolen guns being used to murder people in the City of York. . . . I've yet to hear one idea."
The meeting was attended by several opponents of the proposal, some who held signs reading "America believes in innocence until proven guilty."