‘Strongest firearms preemption statute in the country’ overturned by court

A controversial Pennsylvania bill signed by Gov. Tom Corbett (R) last year which allows third parties to sue municipalities over local gun codes stronger than the state’s was overturned Thursday.

The measure, backed by gun rights groups, squeaked through the state legislature as an amendment to a metal theft bill. As state Dems and gun control groups rallied to block the implementation of the new law and State Attorney Gen. Kathleen Kane announced she would not defend it, Second Amendment groups launched a volley of lawsuits under its protections against municipalities whose laws were brought under scrutiny.

However, a state court this week may have thrown a monkey wrench into the suits against the cities by finding the preemption law itself, Act 192, unconstitutional.

The Commonwealth Court ruled 7-0 that it does not pass muster when compared to the state constitution as reported by Penn Live.

“In short, because Act 192 was altered to change its original purpose, it does not pass the first part of the two-part constitutional inquiry,” the order written by Judge Robert Simpson said.

Among the cities preparing to defend their local laws was Pittsburgh, whose mayor welcomed the news that in the end he may not have to.

“This law was clearly unconstitutional from the outset, and designed to threaten Pittsburgh and other cities trying to protect their neighborhoods from illegal guns,” said Mayor William Peduto. “I’m overjoyed that the court system is joining us in standing up for citizens and public safety instead of special rights for the gun lobby.”