Pennsylvania becomes center of gun-control debate <!-- END HEADLINE --> <!-- BEGIN STORY BODY -->By Jon Hurdle Tue Sep 26, 7:11 PM ET HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Pennsylvania lawmakers held a special session on Tuesday to discuss 94 initiatives to tighten the state's relatively loose gun controls in an effort to reduce gun crime. The two-day meeting was attended by the mayors of New York and Trenton, New Jersey, who believe their cities' crime rates are affected by the laxer rules in Pennsylvania. The state has one of the strongest pro-gun lobbies in the country. "What happens in Pennsylvania or any other state doesn't stay in Pennsylvania or any other state," New York's Michael Bloomberg told a news conference. "We can't fight illegal guns from behind state lines." He said 85 percent of the guns used by criminals in New York originated outside the city. Pennsylvania, a largely rural state, has an estimated 1 million hunters and 250,000 members of the National Rifle Association, the biggest national gun advocacy group. The state House of Representatives met in a rare "Committee of the Whole" session to take non-binding votes designed to let legislators debate with less partisan pressure. Bills that pass will be introduced into the statehouse and could become law. The mayors of eight Pennsylvania cities also attended the meeting. Among the proposals was one to restore the ability of local governments to set their own gun laws. The state took that power away from Philadelphia in 1995. Some 285 people have been murdered in Philadelphia so far this year, 86 percent of them with guns, said the city's police commissioner, Sylvester Johnson. There were 274 murders in the same period last year. Hundreds of gun-control campaigners from Philadelphia met on the steps of the state capitol demanding stricter controls. Titus Brown, a prison social worker who came to Harrisburg, said guns were too easily available to young people. Brown's 20-year-old son -- whose picture he carried on his backpack -- was shot dead after an argument on a West Philadelphia street. "Things used to be settled with fisticuffs," said Brown, 60. "Now these boys are using guns." Charles Fox, an NRA member who came to Harrisburg to oppose the gun-control proposals, said a proposal limiting purchases to one a month would have no effect on gun crime and would restrict his right to bear arms as enshrined in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. "I resent any infringement on that right," he said. "The way to deal with it is to deal with the criminals." Proponents say the limit is meant to stop people from buying guns and reselling them illegally. Another proposal would require owners to report lost or stolen guns within 24 hours.