Let no one accuse the National Rifle Association of being slow on the draw: It is suing Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Lancaster, just days after a new state law allowed it to challenge local gun ordinances in court.
“These municipalities have known for years that their ordinances were illegal, but there were no consequences,” said Jonathan Goldstein, a Chester County attorney representing the NRA. “Now it’s about to get expensive.”
While state law has barred local officials from passing their own gun laws since 1974, many municipalities have rules that, for example, ban firearms from public property. But last year’s passage of Act 192 gave the NRA new firepower in overturning such measures.The law, which went into effect Jan. 5, allows any Pennsylvanian eligible to own a gun, or a group with such a person as a member, to challenge any local gun ordinance in the state. If the suit is successful, the municipality must pay the plaintiff’s legal fees.
The complaint filed against Pittsburgh was not available Wednesday, but Mr. Goldstein said it names a handful of ordinances. One prohibits carrying firearms in a vehicle or in person without a state permit to do so. Another prohibits discharging a firearm except at target ranges, or in cases permitted by state law. A third requires gun owners to report the loss or theft of stolen firearms.