Pennsylvania lawmakers sue over firearms law

Pennsylvania lawmakers sue over firearms law

[JURIST] Five Pennsylvania state legislators and the mayors of two cities filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania [official website] on Monday asking it to strike down a state law passed last month allowing advocacy groups to sue municipalities over local gun laws. The law, commonly known as Act 192 [HB 80, PDF], includes language granting the right to sue municipalities. The bill also purports to bar courts from employing ordinary notions of standing and provides plaintiffs the right to collect attorneys fees and other expenses against a county, municipality or township that in good faith defends its law. The complaint alleges that the process of passing the law was flawed, as it was combined with an uncontroversial bill that increases penalties for theft of certain metals. The original purpose of the bill was to create criminal penalties for the theft of secondary metals, such as copper and aluminum. Plaintiffs argue that the incorporation of the new standing requirements violate the original purpose of the bill and is in violation of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which requires legislators vote on single subject legislation.

Second Amendment [JURIST op-ed] rights are a controversial political issue in the US. In June a judge for the US District Court for the District of Colorado [official website] upheld two state statutes [JURIST report] that expanded mandatory background checks and banned high capacity magazines. Also in June the US Supreme Court [official website] ruled that the government can enforce a ban [JURIST report] on purchasing a gun for someone else, even if that other person is lawfully allowed to have a gun. In April a trial judge for the New York Supreme Court [official website] dismissed a lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging the state’s strict gun laws. In February the Supreme Court denied review [JURIST report] of three gun rights cases without comment.