Commonwealth Court Strikes Down Act 192

GunThe Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court struck down Act 192 today.

Act 192 is a piece of legislation passed last year that would allow gun owners to sue municipalities over any regulation of firearms. Not only that, it would also force those municipalities to pay any attorney fees.

The law was fiercely opposed by gun control advocates since it would allow the National Rifle Association (NRA) to sue any cities that tried to pass new laws.

The Court ruled the law was unconstitutional because it did not deal with a “single subject”. The controversial provision was added to a bill concerning the theft of copper and other metals.

This case was brought up by a number of cities that favor stronger gun laws (including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Lancaster) as well as some members of the state legislature.

One of the leaders on this issue was State Senator Daylin Leach.

“You should not be able to sneak in unrelated provisions to a bill at the last minute when nobody will notice. And thanks to the Pennsylvania Constitution, you can’t,” Sen. Leach stated. “Today, the Commonwealth Court followed a long-line of precedents and ruled that Act 192 violated the constitution. They did so unanimously. Democratic and Republican judges all agreed that this law ‘clearly, palpably and plainly’ violates the Constitution. What this means is that all municipalities that repealed constitutional gun ordinances may reenact them. All municipalities that abandoned constitutional practices regarding where guns may be carried, may resume enforcing them. And the NRA can go back to doing what it does best: making sure that we never pass reasonable, constitutional gun restrictions which would save thousands of lives per year.”

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Pittsburgh Bill Peduto also praised the decision.

“The Commonwealth Court’s decision today in the Leach case is a great victory for cities, for public safety, and for good government,” Mayor Nutter stated.

“The Court has preserved the ability of democratically-elected local officials throughout this Commonwealth to do what they think is necessary to protect their citizens from the scourge of gun violence,” he continued. “The Court’s decision also could not be clearer that the way in which Act 192 was adopted by the Pa. General Assembly was undemocratic, unconstitutional and must stop.”

“This law was clearly unconstitutional from the outset, and designed to threaten Pittsburgh and other cities trying to protect their neighborhoods from illegal guns,” Mayor Peduto stated. “I’m overjoyed that the court system is joining us in standing up for citizens and public safety instead of special rights for the gun lobby.”

The full court decision can be read below:

7 Responses

  1. I don’t remember electing any NRA radicals (who needs ISIS) so what gives them the right to run things in our great commonwealth? Suing our already cash-strapped cities? Shows just what cowards we have in Harrisburg – afraid of a black mark on the stupid NRA report card.

  2. I saw this coming. If Greenleaf hadn’t dragged his heals in the judiciary committee this would have been passed by a veto-proof majority in both houses as a standalone bill. Time to get it done this year the right way.

  3. This is good news for individuals who are looking for a payday from their municipality by breaking their illegal laws.

  4. Peduto, Leach…two more no-nothings trying to politicize the appellate courts at every turn.

    No, the court system did not join you “in standing up for citizens and public safety instead of special rights for the gun lobby.” It didn’t weigh in on the policy merits of various gun control ordinances.

    A panel of jurists found a state law was authored in a way such that it didn’t comport with the PA Constitution. Period. These are professionals that have a job to do. Stop mischaracterizing them as political crusaders every time a decision gets handed down.

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