Next step: helping PA cities that withdrew laws to avoid a lawsuit

HARRISBURG, June 25, 2015 – Following Commonwealth Court’s decision today to strike down a law that gave the National Rifle Association standing to sue local governments if it did not like their gun ordinances, state Sen. Larry Farnese, Cease Fire PA and other representatives who filed a lawsuit last November to stop Act 192, applauded the ruling.

“They were wrong,” Farnese said during a Capitol press conference.

“Last October I voted against House Bill 80 and Act 192 not because I do not support the 2nd Amendment, because I do, and not because I don’t believe that legal gun owners should have access to guns and legal guns, because I do. I argued against this bill and the act itself because I believed that it was unconstitutional to create a separate cause of action for a special interest; an unprecedented cause of action.

“Not before last October have we granted standing and created a separate cause of action for a special interest, like the NRA, to go into court and sue.

“What happened in October (when the legislature adopted HB 80) was wrong. What happened after last October (when then-Gov. Tom Corbett signed the bill into law) was equally wrong. It created an unsafe environment for many of Pennsylvania citizens because, as a result of this ridiculous bill, many municipalities across Pennsylvania withdrew their ordinances that were designed to protect their citizens,” Farnese said.

Now that Commonwealth Court has decided, Sen. Farnese said officials have to address the aftermath of the bad law.

“We will celebrate, we will congratulate, we will sit back and look at what the next step is but right now there are cities around the commonwealth that, because of this ridiculous bill, because of the way it was rammed down the throats of the people of Pennsylvania, they caused places in Pennsylvania to be unsafe. We have to address that.

“We have to insure that this type of legislation never happens again,” he said.

The Philadelphia Democrat also said the court’s decision holds some promise for future attempts by legislative majorities to rush bills they know are not allowed under the state’s constitution.

“What happened on the floor of the Senate last October happens a great deal. I like this opinion for what it says today for us, and I like it for what it says tomorrow. Because we, as Senate Democrats, stand on the floor of that room and get legislation shoved down our throats that we know violates the single subject rule.

“At least today, Commonwealth Court said this is wrong, and stop it,” Farnese said.

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