Legislation & Lobbying

New state law allows attorneys to store guns for domestic abusers; this lawyer is ready

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A Philadelphia lawyer has shelled out about $3,500 for a gun safe where he can store guns for clients accused of domestic abuse.

Joseph Lento told the PA Post that he is willing to provide the service under the state’s new Protection from Abuse Act, which took effect April 10. “It doesn’t require much on my part, other than say, just an initial investment and some ongoing oversight,” he said.

The new law no longer allows accused abusers to turn over their guns to friends or family members. It does, however, allow them to give their guns to law enforcement, licensed firearms dealers, commercial armories and lawyers.

Lawmakers added lawyers and commercial armories as options after guns-rights advocates raised concerns that guns could be damaged if they are turned over to law enforcement agencies.

The PA Post spoke with several lawyers who raised concerns about storing guns for clients. They spoke of potential liability, the need for adequate insurance coverage, security issues, and the possibility that police with a warrant to seize a stored gun could damage their gun lockers.

“This seems well outside the scope of what we signed up for as attorneys,” said attorney Todd Spivak, who handles cases under the Protection from Abuse Act. “When I first learned of this new law, I thought it was bizarre, frankly.”

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