There was a trial court hearing in Harrisburg this morning on whether a preliminary injunction should be granted in a suit to force Harrisburg to follow state firearm laws. The hearing went well with Justin McShane, a lawyer in Harrisburg one of the plaintiffs arguing the case for his side. John Lott was an expert for the plaintiffs who brought the suit, though in the end his testimony wasn't necessary. In connection with the hearing, John Lott wrote a piece in the Harrisburg Patriot News (Pennsylvania's Capitol). The piece starts this way:
For 40 years, Pennsylvania law was clear: "No county, municipality, or township may in any manner regulate the lawful ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of firearms, ammunition or ammunition components."
Many local governments, however, decided that the rules didn't apply to them.
Today, a trial court hears the first case -- a suit against Harrisburg -- regarding this violation of state law.
The case will likely have implications for gun control laws in Philadelphia and the rest of the state and determine whether local governments must follow state laws.
Last year, the state legislature took a leaf out of the Environmental Protection Agency's enforcement book. Just as individuals can sue companies that illegally pollute waterways, Pennsylvanians can now sue local governments for disobeying state laws.
Under Act 192, citizens can challenge a local gun law even if they are not personally affected by it.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, a Democrat, has been extremely selective in choosing which state restrictions to enforce against local governments.
She won't be defending Act 192 in court.
Letting Pennsylvanians sue holds local governments accountable. But isn't challenging local gun regulations different from enforcing EPA regulations? No, both involve people's lives and safety being at stake.. . .