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Gun groups can now sue municipalities in Pennsylvania over gun laws

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Zach McAuliffe
Zach McAuliffe is a University of Dayton alumni with degrees in journalism and English. He wants to present people with all the facts they need to make informed decisions on the world around them. He also enjoys Shakespeare and long walks on the beach with his puppy Lily.

A bill has passed in Pennsylvania which would allow gun groups to sue their local governments for passing gun control laws which the groups find to infringe on their rights and citizen’s rights to bear arms, and many lawmakers in the state are upset.

The bill was passed through the state’s legislature Tuesday by a vote of 138-56.  The legislation came about after the NRA felt the city of Philadelphia had more restrictive gun laws than were allowed by the state of Pennsylvania.  While most city gun ordinances were repelled, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, laws requiring individuals to report lost or stolen guns were upheld.

Pennsylvania state law actually explicitly makes it illegal for localities within the state to make their own gun laws.

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According to the state’s Uniform Firearms Act, counties, municipalities, and townships do not have the authority or right to “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.”

Amendment sponsor, Sen. Rich Alloway (R), said in a statement, “This is a good bill, the right bill for Pennsylvania, to protect the Second Amendment and the rights of law-abiding citizens of Pennsylvania… This is about individual rights.”

While gun advocates in the state are happy with the law, many gun control supporters are upset.

Senator Larry Farnese (D) told reporters the whole bill and situation was a “mess.”

It is unprecedented in Pennsylvania jurisprudence … and across the nation,” Farnese said.  “We’re making history tonight. We are conferring rights and privileges to citizens of the United States to an association.”

Others who are opposed to the bill say it would drain the state’s economy with frivolous lawsuits.  Democratic Sen. Daylin Leach said, according to Philly News, “If you are a resident of Forest County and you don’t like the Norristown gun law…you could hire Johnnie Cochran and bill a township $100,000 an hour or whatever he charges to win the case.”

The bill will begin to take effect late in December.

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