Saturday, January 17, 2015

Lancaster PA Creates Legal Defense Fund for NRA Suit

Local news reports

Lancaster officials have set up a legal defense fund to defray costs of fighting a lawsuit the National Rifle Association filed against the city.
The NRA contends the ordinance violates a state law that prohibits local governments from enacting gun control ordinances.

Mayor Rick Gray, flanked by city council members and with the police chief present at a new conference Friday afternoon, accused the NRA of bullying and said the city won’t back down.

Many people have offered to help since learning of the suit, Gray said, prompting creation of the fund,

Former mayor Art Morris — a Republican — agreed with Gray that the NRA is bullying cities and became the first donor. He gave a check for $1,000, which Gray said he would MATCH.

Gray said he had no idea how much it will cost to defend the NRA’s suit, but said costs would also be borne by taxpayers. The city’s insurance likely would not cover defending the suit, he said.

“At the same time, we believe that standing by this ordinance is the right thing to do. We are responsible for the safety of those city taxpayers — a responsibility we intend to fulfill,” he said.

The NRA sued Lancaster, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh under a new state law under which gun owners don’t have to show they’ve been hurt by a local ordinance to successfully challenge it.
Although I cheer any attempts to combat the bully tactics of the NRA, I've yet to be convinced about the benefits of a law requiring that stolen guns be reported to the police as long as there is no Licensing and Registration.


  1. Gray said he had no idea how much it will cost to defend the NRA’s suit, but said costs would also be borne by taxpayers.

    Time for the voters to hear about that--he knows taxpayers will be paying for it, but "ha[s] no idea how much" he's putting them on the hook for. I wonder if there's a mechanism for a recall vote of mayors of PA cities . . .

    By the way, Mikeb, since these municipal gun laws are illegal in PA (meaning that the city government officials are criminals), would you call the imposition of such laws a "gun crime"? Is that not in line with your oddly expansive view (oddly expansive new view) of what can be appropriately characterized as such a crime?

    1. I don't think it's as simple as all that, Kurt. It seems the supposed illegality of what these cities do is debatable, which is why it has to go to court to be sorted out.

    2. Florida had similar issues until legislation was passed implementing penalties. Which is basically what Pennsylvania's law does, but on the cheap since it just allows groups to do what the Attorney General should be doing, but apparently doesn't want to. Sort of like those wicked Sheriffs that say they wont enforce gun laws.

      "HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane will not defend a new law that effectively stripped municipalities of the right to enact their own gun measures, raising the prospect that the controversial statute might not take hold.
      A spokeswoman on Thursday said Kane had exercised her authority to decline representing the state in a challenge to the law filed by Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Lancaster, and area lawmakers."

      "The Florida Legislature has since 1987 occupied the whole field of regulation of firearms and ammunition, including the purchase, sale, transfer, taxation, manufacture, ownership, possession, and transportation. Due to a lack of penalties associated with violating the preemption statute, it was almost universally ignored by city and county authorities until, on December 7, 2010, Representative Matt Gaetz introduced a bill to the Florida Legislature adding penalties for violating the existing preemption statute. It was signed into law by Governor Rick Scott on June 2, 2011.[4] Penalties may include fines, removal from public office, termination of employment and other punishments."

    3. I don't think it's as simple as all that, Kurt. It seems the supposed illegality of what these cities do is debatable, which is why it has to go to court to be sorted out.

      It is quite "as simple as all that," Mikeb. Let's take a trip down memory lane, to May 2007:

      Phila. faces down state, passes gun law Council had no legal right to pass the bills, including a limit to one gun buy a month. Just who blinks next is anyone's guess.

      City Council unanimously passed eight long-delayed gun control bills yesterday, deliberately picking a fight with lawmakers in Harrisburg who have consistently refused to give Philadelphia the right to enact its own gun laws.

      There's more, including a part where one of the gun ban jihadists on the City Council asks, "What would they do, arrest us?"

      This "has to go to court to be sorted out," because these little aspiring petty tyrants are sore losers, and love plundering the taxpayers to protect their power to violate Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human rights of the individual.

      Also, they're fighting the new law (the one that gives pro-rights groups like the NRA the "standing" to sue municipalities that have implemented these illegal "laws") on the grounds that the passage of the bill violated the state constitution, which apparently stipulates that a bill should not be changed to alter its original purpose, and that no bill should contain more than one subject--they claim these rules were violated in the passage of the new law. I don't know enough about it to weigh in.

      However, whether or not there's merit to the claim that the new law is illegitimate, the fact that Pennsylvania preempts any municipal power to preempt firearms regulation isn't really in question--the new law (the one being challenged) affects who has "standing," and allows those suing to overturn the illegal municipal gun laws to seek damages.

    4. You forgot to mention that gun laws save lives. I know that doesn't matter to you, but it should.

    5. You forgot to mention that gun laws save lives.

      Actually, I fail to have seen any evidence supporting that remarkable assertion. Are you saying that I have seen such evidence, and then "forgot" doing so?

      I know that doesn't matter to you, but it should.

      What matters to me is irrelevant in a discussion about whether or not these municipal laws violate Pennsylvania state law.

    6. How many lives does a gun law save if no one has ever been charged with it? Which seems to be the case here.

  2. They need to fire their attorney and hire one that will give good advice. We have seen a good number of cities who have obviously talked to their counsel and been told, "you'll lose" and did the smart thing.
    Especially since I haven't heard anyone come out and show an example of anyone being charged for violating this crime.

    1. Especially since I haven't heard anyone come out and show an example of anyone being charged for violating this crime.

      it's my understanding that they couldn't really have charged anyone with the "crime" of not reporting a lost or stolen gun, because that would have brought them to a situation similar to the one they're in now.

      The reason that lawsuits challenging these municipal gun laws in PA (illegal gun laws, which would seem to make their implementation a "gun crime," by the newly expansive definition of such crimes) had until now gone nowhere is that the courts had ruled that with no one having been charged, no one had been harmed, and thus no one had "standing" to sue.

      That;s how it had stood until the recently passed law which redefined who had "standing."

    2. By the way, Kurt, you're purposely misrepresenting my "expanded definition of gun crime." In it, I included such things as stealing a gun and buying one with a stolen credit card because those things put guns in the hands criminals.

      Purposely misrepresenting what people say is lying, and that requires no expansion of the definition.

    3. By the way, Kurt, you're purposely misrepresenting . . .

      Presuming to know my purpose, Mr. Mind Reader?

      I "misrepresent" nothing. You once denied being a "gun criminal," on these grounds:

      "Gun crimes" conjure up murder and armed robbery.

      "Owning guns illegally" conjures up misdemeanor bullshit like the stuff Kurt will be morally obliged to disobey.

      You once, in other words, specifically rejected the notion that "owning guns illegally" was a "gun crime"--now it seems to be a fundamental part of your definition of the term.

      That is indeed a dramatic expansion of the definition, and calling it that is not "misrepresenting," and sure as shit ain't "lying."

    4. When I call something a gun crime, I mean that it SHOULD be a crime. The fact that we have loose or non-existent gun control laws is a real problem. Many things that ought to be crimes are not.

  3. Here's an interesting article, which shows cities breaking ranks, most likely because they are finding out the law isn't on their side,

    "Gun control advocates might say Allentown, Pa., had a gun to its head. Indeed, the ammunition was the threat of legal action.
    But whatever the cause, Allentown City Council appeared to blink this week in a dispute over its restrictive gun ordinance.
    A similar showdown has been playing out in Harrisburg, but that city is still holding fast to its restrictive gun rules.
    Not so Allentown, according to our sister website, On Wednesday, City Council introduced a bill to repeal a pair of firearms laws."

    "Now that Allentown has blinked, what do you think will happen surrounding a similar issue in Harrisburg?"