HARRISBURG, Oct. 16, 2014 – State Sen. Larry Farnese (D-Phila.) today released the following statement after Senate Republicans voted to amend and pass House Bill 80 to help the National Rifle Association:

“It’s telling that Senate Republicans have decided to further the NRA’s agenda today by passing a specially crafted piece of legislation that would allow the organization to sue municipalities over their local gun laws.

“While bestowing upon the NRA one of our most important rights – the right to sue and access our courts – this majority has told Philadelphians they will not protect you. They also said with their action that they will not hear the pleas from the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, which supported my mandatory penalty for illegally carrying a firearm within the City of Philadelphia.

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“So, the majority party has voted to protect pigeons, by banning pigeon shoots, and not the people of Philadelphia. I have and will always support the humane treatment of animals, but the majority’s voting record this week is mind boggling.

“Legislative actions like these weaken a municipality’s ability to reduce gun violence and keep their citizens safe, and they set a bad legal precedent by giving the NRA legal standing over local governments. This is bad law. All of the votes this week remind us what we already know: the Republican Party in Pennsylvania is completely beholden to the NRA.”

The Senate voted 32 to 16 Wednesday evening to add an amendment House Bill 80 giving the NRA direct standing to challenge local gun laws in addition to mandating specific damages.

HB 80, which now goes back to the House of Representatives for concurrence, amends Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) to create a new criminal statute prohibiting theft of secondary metals.

Sen. Farnese’s amendment was designed to increase the sentence for illegally carrying a firearm in Philadelphia to a third-degree felony and add a mandatory minimum sentence of at least two years of total confinement. The offense, now, is a misdemeanor.

House Bill 1750, which bans pigeon shoots and prohibits the slaughter or sale of dogs and cats for human consumption in Pennsylvania, is also being returned to the House for concurrence.

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