Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane said Friday she would not defend the state’s recently passed preemption law from various cities and towns that are challenging it in court.
A spokesperson from her camp told Philly.com that Kane “determined it would be more efficient and in the best interest of the Commonwealth for the (governor’s) Office of General Counsel to handle this matter.”
State pro-gun preemption laws are important. What do they do? They keep cities and towns from enacting tougher gun laws than the state standard. How do they work? If a municipality tries to regulate or restrict the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens a gun owner or gun rights group can sue the city or town for violating the preemption law. Assuming the gun owner or gun rights group wins in court, the city or town would then be on the hook for the expenses incurred by the gun owner and gun rights group. In short, it’s a great way to keep state gun laws uniform and gun-grabbing city and town politicians in check.
The preemption law also works retroactively. Meaning, it doesn’t only pertain to new ordinances, but for those existing regulations that are more stringent than the state standard. As it relates to Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Harrisburg, York and Philadelphia all have measures in place that are more restrictive than what the state Legislature has approved, making them subject to lawsuits.
Naturally, its those cities and towns that are leading the charge to have the new preemption law repealed.
“We sued the governor, the speaker of the house…we’ve sued the state already concerning that,” Lancaster City Mayor Rick Gray told ABC 27.
But since Kane is not willing to fight the good fight, Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration will have to take up the reins.
“Since the Attorney General has refused to do so, OGC will fulfill its constitutional duty, unlike that of the attorney general and defend the Commonwealth,” Gov. Corbett’s Spokesman Jay Pagni told Philly.com.
“The people of Pennsylvania have elected Kathleen Kane to defend the Commonwealth and executive agencies,” continued Pagni. “This is now twice she has refused to do so and defend the people that put her into office.”
In the past, Kane also decided not to defend a law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
Yet with Gov. Corbett leaving office soon and with the new regime of Democratic Governor-Elect Tom Wolf taking over the fate of the preemption law is uncertain as Wolf has said on record that he does not support it.
If nothing changes between now and Jan. 7, 2015, the preemption law will take effect.