U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Governor Tom Wolf has vetoed Pennsylvania Bill HB 979 on 4 February 2022.
The bill would have imposed penalties on Pennsylvania municipalities that violate Pennsylvania law. HB 979 passed the Pennsylvania House with 124 to 79 votes on June 8th, 2021. It passed the Pennsylvania Senate on January 25, 2022, with 32 to 17 votes.
As promised, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed a Republican-penned bill that would punish municipalities from enacting firearm ordinances stricter than Pennsylvania law.
The legislation, authored by state Rep. Matthew Dowling, R-Fayette, that would make towns and cities responsible for all legal costs in successful court challenges to local restrictions, was approved by the GOP-controlled General Assembly last week.
In Pennsylvania, a two-thirds vote in both chambers of the legislature is necessary for a veto override. In the House, HB 979 received 61% of the vote. In the Senate, HB 979 received 65% of the vote. An override of the veto is highly unlikely.
Pennsylvania has a strong firearms pre-emption law to ensure the uniformity of firearms law across the state. When the law was passed, it was assumed local governments would obey the law. It was a bad assumption. Over 50 local governments have snubbed their nose at the state law. HB 979 is the current attempt to bring the scofflaw governments to heel.
(1) A person adversely affected by any manner of ordinance, resolution, rule, practice or other action promulgated or enforced by a county, municipality or township in violation of subsection (a) or 53 Pa.C.S. § 306(a) (relating to regulation of firearms and ammunition) or 2962(g) (relating to limitation on municipal powers), may seek declarative and injunctive relief and the actual damages attributable to the violation in an appropriate court.
Essentially the same language was passed in 2014. Disgraced Pennsylvania AG, Democrat Kathleen Kane refused to enforce the bill. She was convicted of felonies while in office. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the 2014 law in 2016, because of a claim of improper procedure in the legislature when the bill was passed.
Another bill with the language passed the House in 2017 but did not make it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In Governor Wolf’s veto message about HB 979, he makes clear he values government power over the rule of law:
“This legislation is an attack on local governments who take action to find commonsense solutions to gun violence and is yet another bill that shows indifference to the safety of Pennsylvanians.”
Progressives are opposed to limitations on government power. It is in their ideological DNA.
The same Governor Tom Wolf Vetoed Constitution Carry in December of 2021, bragging about that move in social media.
View this post on Instagram
It is difficult for this correspondent to see how encouraging local governments to violate the rule of law aids in increasing the safety of Pennsylvanian citizens.
The language used by Governor Wolf is an Orwellian word salad. “Commonsense solution” translates to laws used to violate citizens Constitutional rights. “attack on local governments” means holding local governments accountable to the rule of law. “Gun violence” is an Orwellian term meant to associate guns with illegal violence. But violence is neutral, like gravity. It can be used for good, or evil. Citizens are more likely to use guns to prevent crimes than to commit crimes.
The Citizens of Pennsylvania, through their representatives, have shown they do not want local Pennsylvania governments to violate the law with impunity. Governor Wolf will not be governor forever. His current term ends on January 17, 2023. A new governor will be elected in November of 2022.
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 retired from the Department of Defense after a 30-year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.