Pittsburgh has banded together with other municipalities to stand strong against a law that allowed “membership organizations” like the National Rifle Association to sue over local gun ordinances that are more stringent than their state law counterparts.
Act 192 gave membership groups the ability to challenge cities that imposed unnecessarily strict gun laws. The act was effective, causing over 20 Pennsylvania municipalities to repeal gun laws in order to avoid being sued, but Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and, Lancaster stood strong against the bill, challenging its constitutionality.
A state appeals court ultimately ruled that Act 192, which also included other gun-related provisions, was unconstitutional because it violated the single-subject requirement that prohibits bills from containing more than one subject.
Gun control advocates hailed the decision as a win, claiming Act 192 was unconstitutional and malicious from the beginning.
“This law was clearly unconstitutional from the outset, and designed to threaten Pittsburgh and other cities trying to protect their neighborhoods from illegal guns,” said Mayor Bill Peduto. “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.”
“It was a bad policy and a bad procedure, “ said Shira Goodman, executive director of Philadelphia-based Ceasefire PA. “I think this was a very straightforward case from the beginning.”
Despite the fact that Act 192 was nixed, many pro-gun advocates feel another, similar bill could be introduced that adheres to the single-subject rule.
“This is definitely a wake-up call for the legislative process,” said Kim Stolfer, a South Fayette gun-rights activist and president of Firearms Owners Against Crime. “But it’s not over by any stretch.”
(This article was submitted by freelance writer Brent Rogers)