— Ben Waxman (@bwaxman) November 10, 2014
A group of local, state, and federal officials today announced a challenge to the new Pennsylvania law that lets the NRA sue cities for restrictive gun ordinances.
The suit was filed by State. Sens Daylin Leach, Larry Farnese, and Vincent Hughes, along with State Reps. Cherelle Parker and Edward Gainey, joined by the cities of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Lancaster.
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GunCrisis.org announced this week it is “curtailing” its operations due to funding shortfall. While the curtailed site will still offer the occasional reports and analysis, the announcement marks the end of an era in which the site tried to document every shooting — and every murder — that occurred in Philadelphia.
Jim MacMillan, a former Daily News photographer, was one of the site’s founders. He talked with Philly Mag about the decision to pull back. Some excerpts:
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The Pennsylvania House has approved a bill that would let the National Rifle Association (or similar “membership groups”) sue municipalities for having overly restrictive gun laws. Gov. Corbett is expected to sign.
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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:
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.
The NRA is coming, folks. It will have your tax dollars or your submission to its pro-gun agenda — and, by God, maybe it will have both.
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.
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.