Metcalfe Legislation to Crack Down on Copper Wiring Theft and Illegal Local Gun Control on Target for Governor’s Signature
10/20/2014
The bill was signed into law on Oct. 28.

HARRISBURG —Legislation sponsored by State Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) to make the punishment more adequately fit the crime for copper wiring theft and also impose financial penalties against any jurisdiction that illegally adopts a local firearm ordinance was concurred on by the state House today and sent to the governor’s desk for signature.  

In an effort to crack down on repeat offenders and district attorney plea bargaining to minimal offenses, House Bill 80 will establish a new set of graded criminal penalties for the theft of copper and other secondary metals, including a third-degree felony offense (maximum penalty seven years imprisonment and/or a $15,000 fine) for individuals who are charged with a third or subsequent offense, regardless of the amount stolen.  

Metcalfe introduced this legislation in response to a group of small business owners who alerted him to the issue of criminals repeatedly stealing copper wiring and other types of secondary metals from their private company properties.  A secondary metal is defined as “wire, pipe or cable commonly used by communications, gas and electrical utilities and railroads and mass transit or commuter rail agencies, copper, aluminum, or other metal, or combination of metals, that is valuable for the recycling or reuse as raw material.”  

“Several years ago, two individuals were daring enough to attempt to steal copper wiring from an operating electrical substation located in the center of my legislative district,” said Metcalfe.  “The incident caused an explosion that left approximately 3,800 residents without electricity for several hours and caused $61,000 worth of damage.”   

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, thieves risk their lives to strip wiring and piping from homes, utility properties, and electrical infrastructure, resulting in major power disruptions and significant revenue losses. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that a theft of $100 in copper wiring can cost the utility more than $5,000 to repair.  

“Once signed into law, my legislation will create a new set of increased penalties for the theft of secondary metals that actually fit crimes of this caliber,” said Metcalfe.  “Protecting both the profit margins and private property rights of our job-creating small business owners requires nothing less than prosecution to the fullest extent of the law and maximum consequences for repeat offenders.”

Thanks to a Senate amendment closely mirroring legislation that Metcalfe originally introduced in 2009, House Bill 80 now contains an additional criminal statute that will protect the rights of law-abiding Commonwealth firearm owners from being infringed upon by constitutionally preempted local gun control ordinances.
    
“Since both our criminal code and state Constitution make it crystal clear that local governments have no authority to impose their own piecemeal gun control mandates, law-abiding citizens should never have to invest thousands of dollars in litigation fees to exercise their God-given right to defend their lives, loved ones and property with a firearm whenever and wherever necessary,” said Metcalfe.  “Just like my original Private Firearm Ownership Protection Act, the purpose of this much-welcomed amendment to House Bill 80 is to force any gun-grabbing mayor, city government, or municipality to count the costs for arbitrarily disarming or denying private citizens their freedom to keep and bear arms.”  

Both the Senate amendment to House Bill 80 and Metcalfe’s original Private Firearm Ownership Protection Act were introduced in response to cities such as Philadelphia and several other local municipalities that have already violated Section 6120 of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code which specifically prohibits the enactment of local firearm laws.   

Once signed into law, House Bill 80 will require the offending local jurisdiction to reimburse any plaintiff or organization that successfully challenges an illegal local firearm ordinance for lost income, actual damages, reasonable attorney fees and other legal costs.

For the latest legislative updates, visit RepMetcalfe.com or Facebook.com/RepMetcalfe.

Representative Daryl Metcalfe
12th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact:  Ty McCauslin
RepMetcalfe.com / Facebook.com/RepMetcalfe
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