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Pennsylvania lawmakers OK veto-bound bill aimed at killing local gun laws

Despite the veto threat by Gov. Tom Wolf, the bill passed the Republican-controlled chamber, 32-17.

  • The Associated Press
In this May 6, 2019 file photo, a gun rights advocate with an

Matt Rourke / AP Photo

In this May 6, 2019 file photo, a gun rights advocate with an "I VOTED" sticker on his holster gathers with others for an annual rally on the steps of the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa.

(Harrisburg) — The state Senate on Tuesday approved veto-destined legislation to help gun owners and gun-rights organizations collect damages in court from cities that passed firearms restrictions that were found to violate state law.

Despite the veto threat by Gov. Tom Wolf, the bill passed the Republican-controlled chamber, 32-17, with three Democrats joining every Republican in support of it. The bill passed the Republican-controlled House in June and goes to Wolf’s desk, the latest in a long-running disagreement with the Democrat over how to deal with gun violence.

Wolf’s favored legislation, meanwhile, has gotten little traction in the Legislature.

Under the bill, a gun owner or a gun-rights organization would have standing in court to sue municipalities over firearms ordinances that they contend are more restrictive than state law. A city whose gun ordinance is struck down in court could be ordered to pay damages.

Pennsylvania has long prohibited its municipalities from enforcing firearms ordinances that regulate the ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of guns or ammunition. But gun-rights groups complain municipalities often ignore the decades-old prohibition by approving their own gun restrictions.

That law is being challenged in court by Philadelphia and other municipalities.

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