Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

Pennsylvania Trial Court Invalidates NRA-Backed Preemption Reforms, Jeopardizes Ongoing Lawsuits

Friday, June 26, 2015

Pennsylvania Trial Court Invalidates NRA-Backed Preemption Reforms, Jeopardizes Ongoing Lawsuits

An NRA-backed law passed in Pennsylvania last year to hold accountable local jurisdictions that were defying the state’s 40-year-old firearm preemption statute has been declared invalid by a Pennsylvania trial court. The court did not take issue with the terms of the amended law itself but with “the regularity of procedures employed by the General Assembly in enacting” it. Specifically, the court found the final version of the act did not comply with the state constitution’s requirement that legislation pertain only to a single subject and that bills not be altered or amended during the legislative process to change their original purpose.

The good news is that the exact same language, as it pertains to the state’s firearm preemption statute, should still be eligible for enactment in a later session of the legislature. The bad news is that a number of lawsuits had already been launched under the newly-amended law to hold rogue jurisdictions accountable. The court’s decision on the validity of the new law could delay or cast these suits into doubt. 

By way of background, the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 1974 enacted a broad state firearm preemption law to prevent counties and municipalities from interfering with firearm-related conduct not prohibited by state law. This was meant to ensure that those who complied with state law as they moved about the Commonwealth with firearms would not unknowingly fall afoul of obscure or more restrictive local regulations. A number of court cases over the years invalidated local gun control laws under the statute and reinforced the state’s authority to occupy the field of firearms regulation, to the exclusion of regulation by counties and cities.

Despite this history, anti-gun officials of counties and cities insisted they would press forward with gun control, defying a warning from the Attorney General’s Office that doing so would be illegal. The ethically-challenged view under which these efforts proceeded was that as long as the laws weren’t actually enforced, no one would have the “standing” to challenge their validity under the state preemption law in court. Nevertheless, anti-gun local officials could still point to the presence of the laws on the books as evidence of their determination to fight “gun violence.” Meanwhile, people who were aware of the local regulations might be intimidated (under false pretenses) into obeying them anyway.

That unfortunate and cynical view of things eventually prevailed in court, as NRA sought to challenge illegal local gun control under the state preemption statute and was denied standing to bring the cases because no actual enforcement action had been threatened or initiated under the local laws. This in turn led to a years-long effort to amend Pennsylvania law to create a “pre-enforcement” standing provision for the existing firearm preemption statute. That effort finally succeeded (or so it seemed) last year with the passage of House Bill 80, which amended the preemption statute to authorize persons adversely affected by illegal local gun control, and groups that represent them, to bring lawsuits to challenge the illegal ordinances. 

Localities were warned to remove their non-conforming laws from the books after the amendments were passed, and HB 80 granted them a 60-day window to do so before the law took effect. Some jurisdictions complied. Others did not, however, leading NRA to initiate lawsuits under HB 80 against Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Lancaster.

While the fate of those particular suits is still to be determined (for example, they might still be able to proceed under other theories of standing), NRA’s commitment to ensuring that Keystone residents and visitors are not harassed by illegal local gun control remains fully intact. Stay tuned to this page for further updates as the situation develops. 

 

 

TRENDING NOW
Florida Alert! Gun Bills Filed in Florida - SO FAR

Friday, January 15, 2021

Florida Alert! Gun Bills Filed in Florida - SO FAR

As Legislators begin to file bills for the 2021 Florida Legislative Session, we are getting questions about various bills due to media reports on gun bills.  Below is a partial list of bills we will ...

Biden to Nominate Anti-Second Amendment Judge Merrick Garland for Attorney General

News  

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Biden to Nominate Anti-Second Amendment Judge Merrick Garland for Attorney General

President-elect Joe Biden announced he will nominate U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Judge Merrick Garland for Attorney General. Biden’s choice of a noted Second Amendment opponent to lead the Department ...

NRA Dumps New York to Reincorporate in Texas, Announces New Strategic Plan

News  

Friday, January 15, 2021

NRA Dumps New York to Reincorporate in Texas, Announces New Strategic Plan

Today, the NRA announced a restructuring plan that positions us for the long-term and ensures our continued success as the nation’s leading advocate for constitutional freedom – free from the toxic political environment of New ...

ATF Withdraws Pistol Brace “Guidance”

News  

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

ATF Withdraws Pistol Brace “Guidance”

On December 23rd, ATF posted a document to its website indicating that its recently published Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with “Stabilizing Braces” is withdrawn.

Record Amount of Gun Control Legislation Introduced on First Day of Bill Pre-Filing for 2021 Texas Legislative Session

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Record Amount of Gun Control Legislation Introduced on First Day of Bill Pre-Filing for 2021 Texas Legislative Session

Although the 2021 session of the Texas Legislature convenes on January 12, gun control advocates financed by New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg and Beto "Hell Yeah, I'll Take Your Guns" O'Rourke wasted no time in announcing their ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Montana: House Passes Permitless Carry Legislation

Friday, January 15, 2021

Montana: House Passes Permitless Carry Legislation

Yesterday, the Montana House passed self-defense legislation, House Bill 102, by a 66 to 31 vote. 

NRA Signs MOU with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

News  

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

NRA Signs MOU with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

The NRA signed a memorandum of understanding with the USFWS to assist in the recruitment, education, and retaining of sportsmen and women via  NRA’s education and outreach programs.

Representative Richard Hudson Reintroduces Bi-Partisan Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act

News  

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Representative Richard Hudson Reintroduces Bi-Partisan Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act

Last week, Representative Richard Hudson (R-NC) reintroduced H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which would give more meaningful effect to those rights by ensuring they stay intact as travelers crossed state lines.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Want to Destroy the Second Amendment

News  

Monday, November 2, 2020

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Want to Destroy the Second Amendment

While discussion of the Second Amendment and gun control have been noticeably absent from the presidential debates and mainstream media coverage, gun rights are without a doubt on the ballot tomorrow.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.