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Its come to this; PA law proposed to prevent municipalities from passing illegal legislation.

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posted on Feb, 7 2012 @ 12:04 PM
In the state of Pennsylvania, the State Constitution states quite clearly that residents have the right to bear arms.

Section 21 . Right to Bear Arms
The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.

PA constitution

This hasn't stopped local municipalities from trying to pass laws to circumvent this quite clearly phrased right. The state even passed a law stating that only the state government has the right to pass gun laws inside the state but, no penalties were made against those who ignored this law and did what they wanted anyway.

In spite of the fact that many of these laws (such as no guns in parks and a ban on out-of-state carry permits) are illegal, a person can be arrested and can face significant legal costs fighting for their legal rights before the state gets around to overturning the clearly illegal law.

A new proposed law seeks to help to remedy this situation.

Pa. bill aimed at stopping municipalities from enacting illegal local firearms ordinances

As president of the central Pennsylvania chapter of Firearms Owners Against Crime, Timothy Havener has the time to fight illegal gun ordinances throughout the commonwealth.

But many people don’t, and those are the folks, Havener says, who could find themselves having to shuck out legal fees to defend themselves against local laws that he maintains shouldn’t be there in the first place.

Municipal firearms ordinances – everything from bans on possessing guns in local and county parks to prohibitions on carrying weapons in municipal buildings – are null and void, Havener claims, all because of a state law that gives the Pennsylvania legislature the final say over firearm regulations.

But while all gun laws are preempted by state statute, local ordinances seem to be on the books throughout the commonwealth, something that can cause trouble for those who find themselves in violation of said laws.

It’s for this reason that a western Pennsylvania lawmaker has introduced a bill that would provide attorney’s fees to those who end up having to fight the disputed ordinances in court.

Republican state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe is the sponsor behind H.B. 1523, which is aimed at deterring municipalities from enacting their own gun ordinances despite the state prohibition.

“These [Pennsylvania] communities that are in violation of the law have no incentive to change their laws … because there’s no penalties,” Havener said. “It takes a lot of prodding, and sometimes a lot of work, to get these communities to change their laws.”

Metcalfe’s bill is modeled after a similar law that was recently passed in Florida, another state with a firearms preemption statute. The Florida law makes it a third degree felony for a local elected official to knowingly pass an ordinance that violates state law. It also provides for fines in an event such an ordinance is passed. And, like the Pennsylvania bill, it provides for attorney’s fees if such an ordinance has to be challenged in court.

The Metcalfe bill only contains the latter; it does not propose fines or jail time for local officials who pass gun laws.

The lawmaker said he thought the bill would have a better chance of getting passed into law at this point if it only contained the legal fees provision.

Pa Record

The penalties increase the further the case goes in court before the law is rescinded.

"Postjudgment liquidated damages." A sum equal to three times the actual damages, reasonable attorney fees and costs incurred by a party who successfully brings or maintains an action described under subsection (a.2)(2).

"Prejudgment liquidated damages." A sum equal to two times the actual damages, reasonable attorney fees and costs incurred by a party who brings or maintains an action described under subsection (a.2)(2).

See the law here

It is a shame the world has come to this where a law has to be passed creating penalties for passing illegal laws. I think it is a shame they left out the Florida language making it a criminal offence to pass such legislation. The Florida legislation has been quite effective in forcing municipalities to rescind their unlawful gun laws.

Its a shame there is nothing like this on the Federal level to go after Congressmen and Senators who pass unconstitutional legislation. We can always wish, right?

posted on Feb, 7 2012 @ 01:05 PM
Ah, Daryl Metcalfe. He's one of ours.

posted on Feb, 7 2012 @ 02:56 PM
reply to post by HappyBunny

I'm disappointed he didn't go all the way and make illegal laws a felony like they did in Florida. He has a great point saying that reps who pass those laws are just as criminal as someone who steals from you. They give the local police instructions to use force on a person for doing something the state clearly says is perfectly legal and needlessly subject law-abiding citizens to criminal prosecution for breaking a law that was against the law in the first place.

Talk about abuse of power!

Then again, the same people who pass the laws are the same ones who may find themselves on the other side of those laws so it would kill the chances of it getting passed. Think of all the laws Congress exempts itself from.

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