CHERRY TREE, Pa. – Council members in this tiny borough voted overwhelmingly Wednesday night to dismiss a contested ordinance that recommended all households keep weapons and ammunition to prevent crime.
In the 6-1 vote, only Councilman Henry Statkowski, who proposed the Civil Protection Ordinance, objected to a motion to drop it.
"This would ... make a statement to the rest of the community and criminals in this area. If you want to break into a home in Cherry Tree, you might not like the consequences," said the 59-year-old retired U.S. Army master sergeant and Vietnam veteran.
But other officials questioned how the ordinance would be enforced and whether it might open the borough to litigation.
"We don't want Cherry Tree to be known as a gun-toting town," Councilman Drax Felton said.
The Cherry Tree measure would not have been the first gun-related ordinance in Pennsylvania. In 1994, Franklintown repealed a law enacted 12 years earlier requiring each household to own a gun and ammunition.
Gun-control advocates have said such measures risk putting guns into the hands of criminals and increase gun violence.
Statkowski has acknowledged that Cherry Tree, a one-time logging center about 70 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, does not have a crime problem.