House passes bill that would make it easier for gun owners and gun groups to challenge local laws

House passes bill that would make it easier for gun owners and gun groups to challenge local laws

Attendees at a gun rights rally listen to speakers outside the state Capitol in Harrisburg on Monday. HARRISBURG — The state House on Tuesday approved legislation that would allow gun owners and gun groups like the NRA to get their legal bills covered by local tax dollars if they challenge local gun laws that are stricter than the state’s gun laws. The measure passed 124-79. The measure now goes to the Senate for concurrence. Gov. Tom Wolf is opposed to the legislation, his spokeswoman, Lyndsay Kensinger, said. The legislation is similar to a law passed by the General Assembly in 2014 that was eventually thrown out by the state Supreme Court. However, the court’s decision wasn’t based on the content of the pre-emption bill, Dowling said. Instead, the earlier version had been included in a broader piece of legislation that the justices determined violated a requirement that legislation be confined to one subject. Pennsylvania law already bars local governments from passing stricter gun laws than the state, but House Bill 979 would make it easier for those laws to be challenged and allow gun owners to seek the cost of legal bills if they win a lawsuit spawned by a local gun law. Democrats blasted the measure as an effort by the state to undermine local officials who are seeking to combat gun violence. Local governments are passing local gun laws because “We’ve abdicated our responsibility,” said state Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny County. By allowing groups like the NRA […]

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