Court Weighs Challenge to NRA-Friendly Gun Law

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Judges in Pittsburgh on Wednesday heard a challenge to a new state law that lets third-party groups like the NRA sue cities if their gun ordinances are more restrictive than state law.

The law’s challengers, including Sen. Daylin Leach of Montgomery County, contend that it was passed improperly: The state constitution requires legislative bills to be about a single subject; the gun bill was passed, though, by inserting its language in a bill originally concerning scrap metal theft. Read more »

The Best Thing That Happened This Week: The NRA Lost Face

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Do you have a gun? Do you think I have a gun? Most media reports would have you believe that ever since President Obama’s election, we Americans have been arming ourselves to the teeth. But a new survey by the well-respected, independent research organization NORC shows just the opposite. Only 22 percent of us today own guns, down from 31 percent in 1985. So come out of that bunker. The NRA’s desperate efforts to overturn gun-control ordinances in cities like Lancaster and Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are the death throes of a lobbying bully that knows its time is coming to an end. For which citizens from Newtown, Connecticut, to Aurora, Colorado, gratefully say: Amen.

 

Here’s the Lawsuit the NRA Just Filed Against Philadelphia

nra-suit

As promised, the National Rifle Association has filed suit against the City of Philadelphia for “for refusing to comply with a state law that prohibits local governments from enacting gun control ordinances,” according to a statement from the organization today.

The organization is filing suit against Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Lancaster under the provisions of House Bill 80, which was signed into law in Harrisburg last year and allows membership organizations to sue municipalities where gun regulations  are more restrictive than state law. “The cities of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Lancaster have openly defied state law for decades.  They continue to willfully violate the law and insist on politically grandstanding at taxpayers’ expense,” Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative said in the statement.

The suit has just posted in the Philadelphia court system. We present it below as a public service. Stay tuned for more.

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AG Kane Won’t Defend Pa. Gun Law That Allows NRA Suits

Attorney General Kathleen Kane gestures to Gov. Tom Corbett while speaking at a news conference in Harrisburg in June.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane gestures to Gov. Tom Corbett while speaking at a June news conference about healthcare.

Kathleen Kane has decided not to defend a recently passed gun law that allows lawsuits against municipalities that enact gun laws harsher than state laws.

“The attorney general determined it would be more efficient and in the best interest of the commonwealth for the Office of General Counsel to handle this matter,” Kane spokeswoman Renee Martin said. She is leaving it up to Gov. Tom Corbett’s staff. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, is sworn in as governor on January 20th.

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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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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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Let’s Teach Philly Kids to Use Guns — Properly

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Over the weekend, a 2-year-old boy in West Philadelphia shot and killed his 11-year-old sister. The gun —a .357 Magnum — had been stored on top of a fridge; according to reports it was then moved to a master bedroom in the family home. One way or another, it ended up in the toddler’s hands. He fired it, of course. Now both of their lives are destroyed.

It’s a stupid, senseless tragedy. It never should’ve happened. We can all agree on this, right?

So I want to offer a proposal I believe might well reduce the number of gun deaths in Philadelphia. It’s also a provocative proposal. I suspect our gun debate is too polarized for it to become reality, at least for now. But I suspect it would reduce the number of stupid accidents we see — and, by teaching respect for the deadly power of firearms, might even lead to better behavior overall among this city’s criminal elements.

This proposal: Every junior-high student in Philadelphia public schools should take a gun-safety class.

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