Senate OKs Veto-Bound Bill Aimed at Killing Local Gun Laws

Gun Safety

FILE PHOTO: Semi-automatic handguns are displayed at shop in New Castle, PA. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

By Associated Press

January 26, 2022

Despite a veto threat by Gov. Wolf, the state Senate approved a bill that would allow PA gun owners and gun-rights organizations to collect damages from cities that passed firearms restrictions in violation of state law.

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania’s state Senate on Tuesday approved veto-destined legislation to help gun owners and gun-rights organizations collect damages in court from cities that passed firearms restrictions that were found to violate state law.

Despite the veto threat by Gov. Tom Wolf, the bill passed the Republican-controlled chamber, 32-17, with three Democrats joining every Republican in support of it. The bill passed the Republican-controlled House in June and goes to Wolf’s desk, the latest in a long-running disagreement with the Democrat over how to deal with gun violence.

Wolf’s favored legislation, meanwhile, has gotten little traction in the Legislature.

Under the bill, a gun owner or a gun-rights organization would have standing in court to sue municipalities over firearms ordinances that they contend are more restrictive than state law. A city whose gun ordinance is struck down in court could be ordered to pay damages.

Pennsylvania has long prohibited its municipalities from enforcing firearms ordinances that regulate the ownership, possession, transfer, or transportation of guns or ammunition. But gun-rights groups complain municipalities often ignore the decades-old prohibition by approving their own gun restrictions.

That law is being challenged in court by Philadelphia and other municipalities.


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