HARRISBURG – The Senate today passed legislation introduced by Sen. Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35) that will protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners and shield them from having to fight overly restrictive local firearms ordinances. The bill passed by a vote of 34 to 16.
“When local governments enact regulations that clearly exceed state law, law-abiding citizens comply while criminals don’t, leaving innocent people unarmed and unprotected,” Langerholc said.
Langerholc’s bill permits an individual or organization to sue to block an overly restrictive local firearms ordinance.
“Municipalities that enact harsh, sweeping gun laws cannot ignore or interfere with state and federal laws and the U.S. Constitution,” Langerholc added. “When local officials overstep their legal authority in passing severe gun ordinances, law-abiding citizens rarely possess the time, money and legal skills to fight their citation and overturn the law. This bill takes steps to remedy that imbalance and preserves the Second Amendment rights of good Pennsylvanians.”
Langerholc pointed out that almost all states today have a law prohibiting local jurisdictions from imposing gun control restrictions that are stricter than state law.
“Gun laws should be uniform across the state, so upstanding gun owners do not face a mishmash of regulations as they travel across the Commonwealth. The legislation places the burden on the municipality to defend its actions rather than on the citizen who may have been cited unjustly,” Langerholc said.
“Although legislation similar to Senate Bill 5 was enacted in 2014, a state Supreme Court ruling overturned the law based upon procedural grounds that did not speak to the content or constitutionality of the law,” Langerholc said.
Just as federal law supersedes state law under the doctrine of preemption, the legislation restores the original intent of the Uniform Firearms Act, which was designed to prevent municipalities from enacting their own local ordinances.