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Philadelphia Sues State over Ability to Enact Gun Control

By: Teresa Mull

The city of Philadelphia is suing Pennsylvania because it wants to enact its own form of gun control. City officials are teaming up with the Ceasefire Pennsylvania Education Fund to file the lawsuit.

“The legal effort marks the latest attempt by local officials in Pennsylvania to overturn a concept in state law known as preemption, which prohibits cities from creating and enforcing local gun laws,” reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced in a statement:

“This action today sends a clear message – we are fed up with the Commonwealth’s continued insistence on handcuffing local governments on gun control. Two years ago we declared gun violence a public health emergency and our City agencies have implemented proven approaches to reduce gun violence.
“But until state lawmakers stop blocking local governments from enacting and enforcing common sense gun laws, our fight for violence reduction and meaningful gun reform will not end. This lawsuit is a big step in that direction.”

Some Republicans are pushing back. Jason Gottesman, spokesperson for the House Republican Caucus, wrote in an emailed statement to the Indiana Gazette that, “Preemption is a necessary component of municipalities being creatures of the state, who retain ultimate oversight of them and their actions. Ultimately, this is another example of Democrat leaders making an end-run around the legislature by seeking action in the courts rather than the constitutionally-provided legislative process in changing our state’s laws.”

GPM recently reported that Pennsylvania is one of the swing states anti-gun activists are targeting:

Viewed as a “tipping point” state in the current presidential election, both Republicans and Democrats are pouring millions into the state. One group that’s flexing its muscles in the Keystone State is Everytown for Gun Safety. The civilian disarmament organization, which counts on heavy financial contributions from the likes of oligarch Michael Bloomberg, wants to punish the Republican-controlled State House and Senate for its perceived inaction on gun control legislation.

Everytown’s political arm launched a $1.4 million digital advertising and direct mail campaign directed at several House and Senate seats to try to turn Pennsylvania’s General Assembly into a “gun sense majority.” There may, however, be some obstacles for the gun control crowd this go-around. According to a recent report by Breitbart News, swing states like Pennsylvania have witnessed a considerable surge in firearms sales during the last six months.

Teresa Mull (teresa@gunpowdermagazine.com) is editor of Gunpowder Magazine.

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