In a victory for gun-safety advocates, a Pennsylvania court yesterday overturned a state law that had made it easier for gun owners and the National Rifle Association to sue cities and towns over local gun ordinances, reports the Philadelphia Daily News. “The court has preserved the ability of democratically elected local officials … to do what they think is necessary to protect their citizens from the scourge of gun violence,” said Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.
In striking down the law, the court concluded that the Republican-controlled Legislature used unconstitutional – and underhanded – tactics to pass the law in the final days of last year’s voting session. The law enabled the NRA and other groups to challenge a local gun ordinance on behalf of its members in court without having to demonstrate that a gun owner had been harmed by the ordinance. The law also allowed successful challengers to seek monetary damages and recoup legal fees. After the law took effect last January, many municipalities repealed local gun bills, fearing lengthy and expensive legal fights mounted by the well-funded NRA.