HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Monday declined to reinstate a law that allowed state residents eligible to own a gun, or a group representing them, to challenge local gun ordinances anywhere in the state.
The Commonwealth Court overturned the law last year on the grounds that the legislative process that was used to make it had violated the constitution. The gun provision had been added to a bill that addressed the theft of metals.
The Supreme Court agreed with what the Commonwealth Court, said Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, “that the Legislature violated the single-subject rule in an effort to pass an unpopular and irrational bill without being noticed.” Mr. Leach led the lawsuit challenging the law.
House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Marshall, and Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, had appealed the Commonwealth Court ruling. Drew Crompton, the Senate GOP general counsel, said he assumed the Senate would try again to pass such a proposal, adding that some towns were going overboard in regulating gun sales.
“Some municipalities are simply going far afield of the powers they are given pertaining to gun ownership, and there should be penalties for local regulation that is not in accord with current state law,” Mr. Crompton said in an email.
The mayors of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, which have faced lawsuits challenging gun restrictions, praised the ruling.
“This is a great victory for proper legislative procedure and for the ability of local governments to adopt common sense gun regulations without fear of financially crippling litigation,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement.
Timothy McNulty, spokesman for Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, wrote in an email, “This ruling confirms what Mayor Peduto and others have been saying for years — that this bill was clearly illegal, and a cynical attempt to score points with the gun lobby at the expense of neighborhoods living in fear from illegal gun violence.”
Karen Langley: firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-787-2141 or on Twitter @karen_langley