Court Strikes Down Law That Let NRA Sue Pa. Cities

"Huge victory for safety" say opponents.

A Commonwealth Court has struck down the new state law that let the NRA — and other third parties — sue Pennsylvania cities for their gun restrictions.

The law is “unconstitutional and void,” the court said in Thursday morning’s ruling.

The law — known as Act 192 — passed last year, had been challenged by a coalition of cities (including Philadelphia) and lawmakers. The challenge was based on the process used to pass it: The bill was originally written to create penalties for the theft of copper wiring — late during the legislative session it was gutted and repurposed as a gun bill. Critics said that violated the Pennsylvania Constitution, which requires that a bill not be amended in a way that changes its original purpose, and that bills passed by the legislature contain only a single subject.

“We agree with Petitioners that the primary subjects covered by Act 192, which, on one hand set forth criminal penalties for theft of copper and aluminum, and, on the other hand, create a civil cause of action to challenge municipal firearms legislation, are so disparate that they lack any clear, common nexus,” Judge Robert Simpson wrote for the court in its ruling, later adding: “We agree with Petitioners that Act 192 was altered to change its original purpose.”

“The Commonwealth is enjoined from enforcing any provisions of Act 192 or taking any actions in accordance with Act 192,” the court concluded. (See ruling below.)

That order should bring an end to several lawsuits that had been filed under Act 192; the NRA had sued the cities of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Lancaster under the act, but the suit had been stayed pending the Commonwealth Court’s ruling on the act’s legitimacy.

Previously: Here’s the Lawsuit the NRA Just Filed Against Philadelphia