Armed with a new law that helps residents and advocacy groups to sue to uphold a 40-year-old preemption law, the National Rifle Association is going after three cities that have been violating the rights of their citizens with illegal gun control laws.

Armed with a new state law that opponents denounce as a gift to the gun lobby, pro-gun groups are rapidly scaling up their attack on municipal firearms ordinances throughout Pennsylvania, with the National Rifle Association filing suit over gun-control measures in three cities.

Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Lancaster have “openly defied” a 40-year-old state law that forbids municipalities from regulating firearms, said Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.

The cities said they will fight the NRA, contending the local regulations are a sensible way to address deadly gun violence.

“This should be a wake-up call for citizens across Pennsylvania,” Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said. “We’re not taking away anyone’s right to own a gun — or 10 or 20 guns. What we’re saying is when a gun is lost or stolen, you’ve got to report it. Too many people are being killed in the streets of Pittsburgh and other cities with stolen guns.”

Pennsylvania has long barred its municipalities from approving ordinances that regulate the ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of guns or ammunition. But scores of cities and towns ignored the prohibition, and gun-rights groups complained the local measures were difficult to challenge because judges have ruled that plaintiffs could not prove harm.

Under a state law that took effect last week, gun owners no longer have to show they have been harmed by an ordinance to win in court. The new law also allows organizations like the NRA to sue, and successful challengers can seek legal fees and other costs.

Incredibly, the cities are fighting the law in court, claiming that the new law that gave the NRA standing to sue is unconstitutional.

Yes, they’re attempting to protect illegal laws by claiming that the law allowing the NRA to sue over illegal laws is itself illegal.

More than 20 smaller organizations have already repealed their gun control ordinances, apparently not wanting to risk the cost of litigation to support illegal ordinances..

State law in Pennsylvania says that only state lawmakers may pass gun laws, but many cities and towns have ignored that law and have been infringing upon the rights of their citizens for decades.