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The greedy gun lobby is at it again. As you know, our lawsuit was successful, and the PA Supreme Court in June affirmed the Commonwealth Court’s decision that Act 192, the special standing/punitive preemption bill was unconstitutional. The NRA’s lawsuits against Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Lancaster, and other gun groups’ suits against Harrisburg and Lower Merion Township came to a screeching halt.
For at least a few months, PA cities and towns did not have to fear lawsuits for keeping their communities safe.
In 2015, the Commonwealth Court ruled that Act 192 was unconstitutional because it violated the PA Constitutions’ Single Subject and its Single Purpose rules. The special standing provisions of Act 192 were tacked onto a bill that penalized the theft of scrap metal. Despite the fact that the ability to sue a town and the theft of scrap metal had nothing to do with each other, the legislature was able to pass the bill and get former Governor Corbett to sign it. The court sided with the plaintiffs and CeaseFirePA in recognizing that Act 192 violated the single subject rule of the PA constitution. This now means that local municipalities don’t have to worry about being sued by an outside group for passing laws that keep their communities safer. Follow the link to the court’s decision.
Then, on June 20, 2016, the PA Supreme Court affirmed that decision, declaring “we find ourselves in agreement, in all material respects, with the Commonwealth Court.” The Court explained in the most basic terms: “Act 192 violates the single-subject rule and must be declared void in its entirety.” Follow this link to the decision of the PA Supreme Court.
We, of course, were very pleased with this result, as were the plaintiff cities and legislators, and towns, town councils and mayors across PA. But our excitement was short-lived, because the gun lobby has not given up on special standing/punitive preemption.
Our work is not over. The gun lobby is at it again.
Following the Supreme Court’s decision, new bills to reauthorize the special standing provisions of Act 192 were introduced in the House (HB 2258) and Senate (SB 1330). On September 20, the House Judiciary Committee voted this bill out to the floor. We expect the House and Senate to try to pass some version of these bills in the coming weeks.
And that means, we need you to take action. Tell your representative and senator that you’ve had enough of gifts for the greedy gun lobby and to stop punishing our towns and cities.