Anti-Mumia, Pro-Gun Bills Pass in Harrisburg

State Capitol in Harrisburg

Two high-profile bills passed major tests in the Legislature on Wednesday — a bill designed to reduce “victim anguish” caused by criminals like Mumia Abu-Jamal passed the Senate, while a bill that gives the NRA the right to sue cities for gun laws that differ from the state’s passed the House.

Gov. Corbett has promised to sign both if they pass the full legislature.

First, the anti-Mumia bill. AP reports:

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Gun Debate About to Flare Up in Pennsylvania Senate

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The gun debate seems likely to get heated today in the Pennsylvania Senate.

We told you last week about House Bill 1243, which would give the NRA standing to sue local cities and municipalities for having gun laws more restrictive than allowed by the state. When Democrats promised to weigh that bill down with a number of amendments, Republicans withdrew it last week from consideration from the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Instead, they’ve taken it directly to the Senate floor. Democrats who oppose the bill say Republicans plan to amend it today to House Bill 1746 — a bill otherwise designed to offer new protections to the state’s domestic violence victims — then “call the question” immediately, so that no debate on that amendment, or additional amendments, will be allowed: Only a quick up-or-down vote that Republicans seem likely to win on straight party representation.

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Philadelphia City Councilman Wants to Outlaw Realistic-Looking Toy Guns

Toy Gun

Philadelphia City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson has introduced legislation to ban toy guns. His bill, which he introduced at City Council on Thursday, comes after a man holding a toy gun was killed in an Ohio Walmart and a recent rally in Point Breeze that convinced a corner store to stop selling BB guns.

Johnson’s ban on toy guns would exempt ones that are “white, bright colored or entirely transparent,” according to the Inquirer, and would also allow historical replicas and props. Atlantic City recently passed a toy gun ban with similar exemptions. Johnson is also pushing legislation that would increase the penalty for selling a BB gun, which is already illegal in Philadelphia.

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Pennsylvania Bill Would Allow NRA to Sue Towns Over Gun Laws

Back in 2012, the NRA attempted to sue several Pennsylvania municipalities when they enacted gun laws stronger than Pennsylvania state laws. (Mayor Michael Nutter led this charge — in response to the Batman massacre in Colorado — after stricter gun laws failed in the state legislature.)

The NRA’s lawsuit was dismissed for lack of standing. But, back then, the State House worked on a bill that would automatically give the NRA standing to sue municipalities — including Philadelphia — if they enact stricter gun laws than the state requires.

The bill didn’t become law. But guess what: It’s back! State Rep. Mark Keller, who represents Franklin and parts of Perry counties, has introduced a bill allowing the NRA or another gun-rights group to sue municipalities over their stricter gun laws.

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Your Kids Can Shoot an Uzi Right Here in Pennsylvania

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Photo | Shutterstock.com

Tragic news came out of Arizona this week that a 9-year-old child accidentally killed a shooting instructor with an Uzi at the Bullets and Burgers range in Mohave County during a shooting lesson. And this has a lot of people scratching their heads, wondering why a child would be given an Uzi to shoot. Well, you don’t have to go all the way to Arizona to find an Uzi for your kid to fire. You can do it right here in Pennsylvania. Read more »

Historian: Proclamation Naming Pa. State Gun Gets Facts Wrong

A Maryland historian and author, who used to live in Berks County, fired off an angry letter to a Lancaster newspaper recently, and it ran Monday. Patrick Hornberger — a member of the Pennsylvania Antique Gun Collectors Association, the Kentucky Rifle Association and the Arms and Armor Club — believes the recently signed proclamation naming the Pennsylvania long rifle the official state gun is riddled with errors.

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It Happened: A Good Guy With a Gun Stopped a Bad Guy With a Gun

A hospital worker embraces a woman near the scene of a shooting at the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. on Thursday, July 24, 2014. A prosecutor said a gunman opened fire inside the psychiatric unit leaving one hospital employee dead and a second injured before being critically wounded himself. (AP Photo)

A hospital worker embraces a woman near the scene of a shooting at the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. on Thursday, July 24, 2014. A prosecutor said a gunman opened fire inside the psychiatric unit leaving one hospital employee dead and a second injured before being critically wounded himself. (AP Photo)

Everytime a gun massacre occurs, gun enthusiasts have suggested that what the world needs is … more guns. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” they say. The problem? Good guys with guns so rarely seem to make the scene — and bad guys with guns end up doing quite a bit of damage.

Until Thursday at least. A “gun-toting doctor” at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby shot and injured his assailant, effectively ending the attack — and there’s a good chance as a result this story is going to get some front-and-center attention in the national gun debate. 

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