PA Cities Vary In Response To Firearm Ordinance Rulings, Legislative Activity

Jul 18, 2016


In this file image, Michelle Purifoy, the mother of gun violence victim Shirkey Warthen, holds an image of her son after a ceremony commemorating him, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, in Philadelphia.
Credit Matt Rourke / AP

Allentown City Council is looking at reinstating as many as three ordinances previously repealed to avoid lawsuits facilitated by Act 192. 

The state law was struck down in June. A week later, state Sen. Richard Alloway, R-Adams, introduced a bill that would reinstate the same provisions.

Supporters say the goal is to force uniformity among Pennsylvania's 2,500 or so municipalities, which aren't authorized to regulate firearms anyway.

Basically, Act 192 and its successor bill give standing to file lawsuits to gun owners, regardless of residency or whether they'd been affected by the ordinance they're challenging. Potential harm is enough, in other words. And municipalities would have to pay legal costs incurred by successful plaintiffs.

The potential expense prompted nearly 100 communities to rescind related ordinances.

Some had been on the books for decades, while others passed as a sort of mass response by city mayors to what they described as legislative inaction to strengthen gun laws.

Most Pennsylvania municipalities, like Erie, aren't revisiting the issue because they say that even if the new bill doesn't become law, legal ramifications make these ordinances unenforceable.

Find more of this report on the site of our partner, Keystone Crossroads