Pennsylvania court finds town's gun ban unlawful

A panel granted a preliminary injunction against the town enforcing their local ban on guns in parks. (Photo: Lower Merion Township)

The court granted a preliminary injunction against the town enforcing their local ban on guns in parks. (Photo: Lower Merion Township)

A Commonwealth Court panel ruled 2-1 on Friday to grant a gun rights group an injunction against a Pennsylvania town’s ban on carrying firearms in area parks.

The court held the group’s case against Lower Merion Township, a 60,000 resident suburb of Philadelphia, has merit and issued a preliminary injunction against the city enforcing its local ban, overturning a lower court’s decision.

To the panel’s majority, it came down to a question of if the town violated state preemption laws regarding the lawful possession or transportation of firearms. With the answer being in the affirmative in their opinion, the injunction was the next logical step.

“Thus, we conclude that greater injury would result from refusing an injunction than granting it because refusing an injunction would sanction the Township’s continued statutory violations,” wrote Judge Patricia A. McCullough for the majority that included Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer.

Senior Judge Dan Pellegrini dissented in the ruling, arguing the city has legal authority to bar guns on property under its control.

“The net result of the majority not following our case law is something that the General Assembly never intended,” wrote Pellegrini, “that a local government must permit guns in and on property that it owns, including its recreation centers, ball fields, daycare centers and libraries, not to mention county offices in the courthouse, in its police department, at its jail, in its council chambers, in its mayor’s office and so on.”

Firearm Owners Against Crime brought about the case over Lower Merion’s 2011 law against carrying or discharging firearms on town-owned recreational property under threat of a $600 fine. The Second Amendment group and an area resident filed suit in 2015 against the town in Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas and was denied an injunction, setting the stage for the appeal to the Commonwealth Court.

“For two years FOAC has worked incessantly to stop violations of gun owners’ rights by arrogant local communities which have enacted anti-gun and unconstitutional laws on firearms ownership,” FOAC President Kim Stolfer said. “These local laws are crimes just like Burglary and Assault and should be handled as such but District Attorneys shirk their duty to enforce the law.”

Latest Reviews

  • Gear Review: Sig Sauer Tango 6T 1-6

    Sig Sauer has long been a big name in the firearms industry, so it came as no surprise several years ago when Sig filled out its repertoire with its own optics line. Today, we’re looking at the Tango 6T, a 1-6 low power variable optic.

    Read More
  • First Look: Hornady 6mm ARC

    Hornady brought another impressive project to the shooting public in 2020 with the introduction of the 6mm Advanced Rifle Cartridge.

    Read More
  • Gear Review: Sig Kilo 3000 BDX Binos

    Featuring the company's BDX technology, the Kilo 3000 sits at the tops of Sig Sauer’s optics line bringing binoculars and laser rangefinders into one unit. 

    Read More
  • Scope Review: Leupold VX-3i CDS-ZL

    The new-for-2020, VX-3i CDS-ZL riflescope, is an American-made optic that can be customized for your exact specifications, is easy to use and is backed with a Lifetime Guarantee.

    Read More

Loading