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Pennsylvania law aiding NRA lawsuits nixed by high court

Written by Ben Allen and The Associated Press | Jun 21, 2016 8:35 AM
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(Harrisburg) -- A Pennsylvania law designed to make it easier for organizations like the National Rifle Association to challenge cities' firearms ordinances in court has received a fatal blow.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday to void the 2014 law.

The justices agreed with a lower court's finding that packaging the measure into a bill on criminal penalties for theft violated a state constitutional requirement that bills must be confined to one subject.

The lower court threw it out last year, although it had already spawned NRA lawsuits against Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Lancaster, and scared some municipalities into repealing their firearms ordinances.

"It was stuck on to a bill that really had nothing to do with suing or firearms or anything along those lines," says Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray.

He expects all pending lawsuits will be dismissed.

Under the law, gun owners no longer had to show they were harmed by an ordinance to challenge it. Instead, it let ``membership organizations'' like the NRA sue on behalf of any Pennsylvania member.

Keystone Crossroads reporter Emily Previti found that the law pushed nearly 100 municipalities to change their gun ordinances to avoid a lawsuit.

Gray says if a legislator wants to introduce the measure, he's ready to fight it.

"If it's introduced on its own, it'll be exposed to the light of day as to what it is. And that is just an attempt to keep municipalities from in any way legally regulating firearms."

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