HARRISBURG – A bill fast-tracking through the General Assembly aims to send a tough message to local governments in Pennsylvania: Pass gun-control measures at your own financial peril.
The legislation would penalize municipalities – including Philadelphia and 29 others – that have enacted laws to curb illegal gun sales by requiring them to pay damages and penalties to plaintiffs who challenge those laws in the courts.
The bill is being applauded by the National Rifle Association and condemned by such local officials as Lancaster’s mayor and Philadelphia’s district attorney. The proposal, which would expand the rights of the NRA and other interest groups to sue municipalities, easily passed the Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee last week within days of its introduction and without hearings. It could go to a full House vote as soon as March; its fate in the Senate is unclear.