PA House Passes Bill Empowering Gun Owners To Fight Local Laws

(AP Photo/AJ Mast, File)

Lawsuits are expensive. Anyone who has ever been party to one knows just how expensive they can be. Sometimes, though, they’re the right thing to do. However, some people trust that the cost of a lawsuit will be enough to protect them from one. This is especially true with local governments that pass gun control ordinances in defiance of state preemption laws.

Now, the Pennsylvania House has passed a bill that seeks to make it easier for those lawsuits to happen.

The state House on Tuesday approved legislation that would allow gun owners and pro-gun groups such as the NRA to have 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 bill 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 that bill, said state Rep. Matthew Dowling, R-Fayette. 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 would allow gun owners and pro-gun groups to seek the cost of legal bills if they win a lawsuit spawned by a local gun law.

I’d love to tell you that this is going to sail through and become law, but it’s not.

For one, the governor doesn’t support it, which means it’ll be vetoed and it’s unlikely there are going to be enough nay votes willing to switch to make it happen.

For another, there appears to be a great deal of apathy among the gun rights community in Pennsylvania. A rally held Monday had a pathetically small turnout. From my understanding, this wasn’t an unusual time or place for the rally, but no one showed up. What that tells lawmakers is that gun rights aren’t being supported in the state.

If there’s a problem with the group holding the rally for whatever reason, then get another group to hold a rally and show up there. I don’t really care about what group has the numbers. I care that lawmakers get the message that Pennsylvanians care about gun rights. They need to be constantly reminded over and over again.

Part of the way you do that is to attend rallies and make your voices heard as one single group. You need to step up and be counted.

Unless that happens, Pennsylvanians are going to lose their gun rights.

I mean, you’ve got an anti-gun governor are two large anti-gun population centers. The deck is stacked against Pennsylvania as it is, so gun-rights supporters need to either fight now or consider where they want to move to so as to not live under the yoke of tyranny that is a gun-controlled state.