City Council to Vote on Bill to Suspend Philly Gun Laws

By Kenneth Lipp

In a preemptive measure against the National Rifle Association’s legal strategy in the Commonwealth, City Council is taking steps to suspend the city’s gun regulations until they can be approved by the state legislature.

The move comes in the wake of litigation by the NRA in multiple PA municipalities challenging any local firearms ordinances – as state law forbids local jurisdictions from passing laws which restrict or regulate gun sale, use, or ownership that is lawful under the PA Uniform Firearms Act. 

The NRA has already filed a lawsuit in Lancaster over its law requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms to the police. It has filed legal paperwork in both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia courts and is awaiting word of those lawsuits’ approval.

The Uniform Firearms Act has forbidden municipalities from passing their own gun laws for 40 years, but has largely been ignored. The recently passed PA Law 192 has opened the door to lawsuits, giving gun owners and citizen groups the legal standing to sue without the requirement of proving that they have suffered damages.

Chris Cox, Executive Director of the NRA’s Institute for Legal Action, said in a press release posted to an NRA website: “Pennsylvania municipalities need to follow state law and stop infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun owners.”

The bill before Council would essentially nullify all city laws about guns pending action by the Commonwealth. From Bill 140904 (As Amended, 1/28/15)

The following provisions of The Philadelphia Code shall not be effective until the enactment of authorizing legislation by the Pennsylvania General Assembly:
§ 9-606. Ammunition.
§ 9-607. Firearms.
§ 10-810. Weapons and Dangerous Devices.
(1) Discharging Firearms. No person shall fire or discharge recklessly and
without reasonable cause any rifle, gun, pistol, or other firearm.
§ 10-814. Acquisition or Transfer of Firearms.
§ 10-818. Firearms in Public Places.
§ 10-821b. Contraband Weapons, Accessories and Ammunition.
§ 10-822. Carrying of Weapons in or on Public and Private Buildings.
§ 10-828. Strict Liability for Damages Caused by Certain Firearms.
§ 10-830. Reporting Requirements Upon the Application or Renewal of a License to
Carry a Firearm.
§ 10-831a. Straw and Multiple Handgun Purchase Reduction.
§ 10-832. Firearms Tracing.
§ 10-835a. Prohibited Possession, Sale and Transfer of Firearms by Persons Subject to
Protection From Abuse Orders.

About Kenneth Lipp

Kenneth is a writer and researcher. He’s from Alabama, and will not apologize for it. He moved to Pennsylvania in 2012, but has been in love with Philadelphia since a late-night stroll down Ben Franklin Parkway to the Art Museum in July of 2011 with the love of his life. He is interested in telling Philadelphia’s dynamic and absolutely unique stories with the zeal of a constantly enamored newcomer. Kenneth is also passionate about government transparency and protection of whistleblowers, most notably PFC Chelsea Manning. His research and reporting on law enforcement and surveillance have been featured in various publications, including Rolling Stone (Meet the Private Companies Helping Cops Spy on Protesters) and Popular Science (Boston Tested Crowd-Watching Software That Catalogues People's Skin Color). His training is in both genetics and history and he likes the joke about being a helicase and unzipping your “genes.” He’s driven to know, and thinks you can handle, the truth. Follow him on Twitter @kennethlipp.

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