Anti-Mumia, Pro-Gun Bills Pass 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:
The House voted unanimously on Wednesday for the proposal, prompted by a recent college speech given by a man convicted of killing a police officer.
The proposal was drafted after Mumia Abu-Jamal addressed graduates of Goddard College in Vermont.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania says the bill is overbroad and vague and violates the constitutional right to free speech.
That bill goes to the Senate, which meanwhile was passing the bill that lets the NRA and other “membership organizations” — so, pretty much the NRA then, sue cities for having gun laws the state doesn’t like. The Inquirer:
“The NRA can sue our own people and we have to pay them,” said Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery) who said he represents seven municipalities with their own gun laws.
Bill supporters say they are acting on behalf of individual gun owners and argued that local gun laws are already illegal under the uniformity language in the Pennsylvania constitution..
“This is just clarifying current law,” said Senate President Joe Scarnati (R., Jefferson). “It’s about consistency of gun laws.”
One item of note: It had been expected the gun bill would be grafted onto an anti-domestic violence bill in order to receive passage in the Senate. That prospect raised ire among domestic violence advocates; in the end the bill was amended to an existing bill on metal theft, instead.