Three Pennsylvania Cities to Be Sued by the NRA

GunA new state law has made it much easier for pro-gun groups like the National Rifle Association to sue Pennsylvania cities for firearm ordinances. And that’s exactly what’s happening in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Lancaster.

Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, stated that these three cities have “openly defied” a 40-year-old state law that forbids municipalities from enforcing any gun laws that regulate firearms ownership and transfers.

Gun-rights groups have complained about these local ordinances noting that the plaintiffs were always shut down in court due to their inability to prove harm. The new law, which came into effect last week, no longer requires gun owners to show how the city regulations have hurt them. It also allows for organizations like the NRA to sue the municipalities for legal fees and other costs.

“This should be a wake-up call for citizens across Pennsylvania,” Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said. “We’re not taking away anyone’s right to own a gun – or 10 or 20 guns. What we’re saying is when a gun is lost or stolen, you’ve got to report it. Too many people are being killed in the streets of Pittsburgh and other cities with stolen guns.”

More than 20 other local governments across the state have repealed gun regulations in fear of litigation.

A Houston-based group, U.S. Law Shield, has already filed suit against the city of Harrisburg.

“We expect every municipality to repeal ordinances that are pre-empted. If other folks don’t get on board with what the law requires, they can expect to hear from us in due course,” NRA attorney Jonathan Goldstein said.

January 15th, 2015 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Harrisburg, Top Stories | 8 Comments

8 thoughts on “Three Pennsylvania Cities to Be Sued by the NRA”

  1. Andrew Soltis says:

    Again, what you’re describing is very, very unlikely to occur. It’s simply a law that doesn’t need to exist. There is no basis for its need. Nobody has ever been charged because of it. Why have a rule/law for instances that simply are a common occurrence.

  2. Kevin says:

    The point of requiring the reporting of stolen firearms was to make sure owners kept track of them. Often, when police would show up at the address of the registered owner of a firearm used to commit a crime, the owner would not know, or more likely claim to not know, that the firearm was missing, since it was likely “stolen” by an acquaintance, or relative or other person that had access to the premises, or was simply a straw purchase in the first place.

  3. Andrew Soltis says:

    David,

    I don’t think that is very common. If person has a stolen gun. It was stolen from somewhere. Therefore, it is more than likely that is has been reported missing already from that theft. I don’t know if you have any firearms but they aren’t exactly the kinds of things you hope will “turn up”. It sort of like saying, “oh, I lost my birth certificate. I hope it turns up.” You’ll more than likely look for it and bot be dismissive.

    Additionally, that’s a little harsh regarding the NRA. I don’t think a victim of gun violence would share that sentiment.

  4. David Diano says:

    BTW, I wouldn’t shed a single tear for any of these NRA a$$holes if they got shot with an unreported lost/stolen gun.

  5. David Diano says:

    Andrew-

    People might not report a gun if they didn’t have a license for it in the first place. Also, they might think they’d be considered responsible for or linked to a crime committed with the gun, and not want to be associated with it.

    If they misplaced their gun, they might not want to report it, figuring it will “turn up”.

    So, you aren’t going to get self-reporting unless the law is that you have to report.

  6. Andrew Soltis says:

    Also, this new law doesn’t just apply to guns. All citizens should be able to take their local government to court if they feel that a law is wrong. Why does someone have to be hurt first? Local government take note; don’t make stupid/redundant/politically motivated laws.

  7. Andrew Soltis says:

    This ordinance is useless. If your house or car is broken into a stolen firearm will more than likely be included in the police report. Hence, it is reported anyhow. Seems redundant and useless to have an ordinance like this.

  8. Edgar Stephan says:

    First it is NOT a new state law, It has been on the books for decades but had no teeth to it. The law that was passed (HB2011) was a revision to the existing law to allow recourse to recoup money that was spent defending against an already illegal law… It now allows injunctive, financial and punitive relief to those harmed by county, municipality or townships that decide it is ok to disobey state law.
    Here is the text of PA 18 Pa.C.S. § 6120: Limitation on the regulation of firearms and ammunition.
    (a) General rule.–No county, municipality or township may in any manner regulate the lawful ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of firearms, ammunition or ammunition components when carried or transported for purposes not prohibited by the laws of this Commonwealth.
    (a.1) No right of action.–
    (1) No political subdivision may bring or maintain an action at law or in equity against any firearms or ammunition manufacturer, trade association or dealer for damages, abatement, injunctive relief or any other relief or remedy resulting from or relating to either the lawful design or manufacture of firearms or ammunition or the lawful marketing or sale of firearms or ammunition to the public.
    (2) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit a political subdivision from bringing or maintaining an action against a firearms or ammunition manufacturer or dealer for breach of contract or warranty as to firearms or ammunition purchased by the political subdivision.
    (b) Definitions.–As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:
    “Dealer.” The term shall include any person engaged in the business of selling at wholesale or retail a firearm or ammunition.
    “Firearms.” This term shall have the meaning given to it in section 5515 (relating to prohibiting of paramilitary training) but shall not include air rifles as that term is defined in section 6304 ( relating to sale and use of air rifles).
    “Political subdivision.” The term shall include any home rule charter municipality, county, city, borough, incorporated town, township or school district.
    HB2011 added:
    (a.2) Relief.-–A person adversely affected by an ordinance,
    a resolution, regulation, rule, practice or any other action.
    promulgated or enforced by a county, municipality or township.
    prohibited under subsection (a) or 53 Pa.C.S. § 2962(g)
    (relating to limitation on municipal powers) may seek.
    declaratory or injunctive relief and actual damages in an.
    appropriate court.
    (a.3) Reasonable expenses.–A court shall award reasonable.
    expenses to a person adversely affected in an action under.
    subsection (a.2) for any of the following:
    (1) A final determination by the court is granted in.
    favor of the person adversely affected.
    (2) The regulation in question is rescinded, repealed or.
    otherwise abrogated after suit has been filed under.
    subsection (a.2) but before the final determination by the.
    court.
    “Person adversely affected.”
    Any of the following:
    (1) A resident of this Commonwealth who may legally.
    possess a firearm under Federal and State law.
    (2) A person who otherwise has standing under the laws.
    of this Commonwealth to bring an action under subsection.
    (a.2).
    (3) A membership organization, in which a member is a.
    person described under paragraphs (1) or (2).
    “Reasonable expenses.”
    The term includes, but is not limited.
    to, attorney fees, expert witness fees, court costs and.
    compensation for loss of income.

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