Pennsylvania Bill Would Allow NRA to Sue Towns Over Gun Laws

The bill, which could be voted on as early as Wednesday, has 38 co-sponsors. It would automatically give gun rights groups standing to sue.

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.

If they lost, municipalities would be responsible for the legal fees and costs of the NRA or other groups. A person would not need to be charged under any harsher gun laws in order to bring a lawsuit.

The state does have laws that pre-empt local gun restrictions. “This legislation would deter local jurisdictions from imposing illegal ordinances by providing that any party who successfully challenges one of these illegal local firearm ordinances will be entitled to reimbursement from the offending jurisdiction for their reasonable attorneys fees and costs to bring the lawsuit, and any loss of income suffered because of the illegal ordinance,” Keller wrote in a memo last year.

The bill has 38 co-sponsors, including four Democrats (all from Western Pennsylvania). It could be voted on as early as today.

[The Morning Call]