By Dean Weingarten
State law forbids local governments from passing a maze of local ordinances that infringe on the right to keep and bear arms. All 50 states have some form of state firearm preemption; if they did not have it, residents would never know if they were breaking the law or not by being on one side of the street or another.
The problem in Pennsylvania is that the Legislature did not provide any penalties for local scofflaw governments when they break the law. This year, 2014, second amendment supporters were able to pass the reform bill into law. They were fought all the way with attempts to bottle the bill in committee, and various other procedural tricks.
The disarmists were not able to stop the bill, HB80, which proved very popular, passing by margins of more than two to one.
Now CeaseFirePA, a disarmist lobby primarily consisting of local government entities is funding a lawsuit against Governor Corbett, Lt. Governor Jim Cawley as presiding officer of the senate, and the Speaker of the House, Sam Smith. From dailylocal.com:
Monday they filed a lawsuit against the House Speaker Sam Smith, Gov. Tom Corbett and Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley in his capacity of presiding officer of the state Senate, challenging the constitutionality of Act 192.
Plaintiffs include the cities of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Lancaster as well as state Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17, of Montgomery County, and state senators Lawrence Farnese and Vincent Hughes, both Democrats from Philadelphia.
Backing their effort is CeaseFirePA, a coalition of mayors, police chiefs, religious leaders, community organizations, and other Pennsylvanians dedicated to eliminating gun violence.
The bill passed the House by 143 to 54. It passed the Senate 34-16. It seems unlikely that the courts will rule that the procedures used to allow a vote after months of deliberations would be unconstitutional.
I should not be surprised at the lengths to which local officials will go to avoid being held accountable under the law, but it helps if you have a lobby group promise that they will pay your legal fees if you are sued. From PAFOA, citing an CeasefirePA letter:
2. However, in the event that a lawsuit occurs, the Brady Center (currently representing Pittsburgh) has promised to represent pro bono (free of charge) any Pennsylvania municipality that passes lost or stolen handgun reporting. The Brady Center has given me the authority to convey this offer to Erie.
c2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch
About Dean Weingarten;
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.