Two key provisions of Philadelphia’s latest attempt to impose local gun controls – banning assault weapons and “straw purchases” of handguns – were struck down yesterday by a state appeals court, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Following judicial precedent that doomed previous Philadelphia gun-control laws, the court cited a state Supreme Court ruling in 1996 that only the legislature has the authority to enact gun laws. Counties and municipal governments are out of luck.
The appeals court did approve three provisions of the law. They require reporting lost or stolen handguns, allow temporary seizure of guns by police after probable cause is demonstrated, and bar gun ownership by people subject to protection-from-abuse orders. The lower court ruling had said that the National Rifle Association and other challengers were not affected seriously enough to have legal standing to sue over those provisions.