The Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas issued a one-sentence order temporarily staying the lawsuit filed by the National Rifle Association against the city of Pittsburgh which alleges that the City of Bridges’ ordinances regulating firearms violate Pennsylvania’s pre-emption law. The lawsuit was stayed while another suit filed by several Pennsylvania cities challenging the constitutionality of H.B.80, the statute that allows standing for persons who can legally possess a firearm (or for member organizations of which they are a part, like the NRA,) to proceed . . .

I’ll come right out and say that it probably makes some sense procedurally for the other lawsuit to be adjudicated first. If H.B. 80 is unconstitutional, then the NRA’s lawsuit is moot. The problem is that H.B. 80 started out in life as a bill addressing the theft of scrap metal. Due to a peculiar clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution, any bills passed into law by the legislature must relate to a single subject:

No bill shall be passed containing more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title, except a general appropriation bill or a bill codifying or compiling the law or a part thereof.

For the record, the title of H.B. 80 is:

An Act amending Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in burglary and other criminal intrusion, further providing for the offense of criminal trespass; defining the offense of theft of secondary metal; prescribing penalties; and, in firearms and other dangerous articles, further providing for Pennsylvania State Police and for limitation on the regulation of firearms and ammunition.

If they manage to win on the ‘single subject’ rule, the anti-civil rights crowd will no doubt present this as a win for their side. Of course, it really wouldn’t be; the law at issue will still be in violation of Pennsylvania’s Uniform Firearms Act, it’s just that no one will be able to challenge it unless they’re actually arrested under one of the ordinances. Which they won’t be because, well, the city officials know that they’ll lose in court. And given that Pennsylvania’s new governor was endorsed by billionaire plutocrat Michael Bloomberg, I’m not optimistic that a revised law will be in the offing anytime soon if this one is struck down.

The pro gun-rights side, on the other hand, is hanging its hat on the idea that the single subject that the bill is about concerns ‘criminal penalties’. We will have to see whether or not the Pennsyvlania courts agree, or think it’s too much of a stretch. I did see a recent case from the Pennslyvania Supreme Court holding that several diverse items were not overly broad when they were under the auspices of “powers of county commissioners”. So there’s that, at least.

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19 Responses to Stay Issued in Suit Filed Against Pittsburgh Gun Ordinances

  1. Pennsylvania is at best a purple state that, if the last gubernatorial election is any indication, is turning blue at a frightening rate. I live here so I’m not state bashing.

    • Go forth, find the blueberries, and teach them to love the gun Sammy.

      The country needs more states like Vermont, where gun rights are a given no matter which party you run for.

      • Pro-gun…..until they send Leahy and Sanders to Congress for decades on end to vote your firearms freedom away nationally.

        State motto should be “Vermont: With friends like us, who needs California….or Connecticut…..or New York….or Massachusetts….or…..”

    • I would say that Wolfs win has less to do with him and more to do with him not being Corbett. I wouldn’t take that alone as a rapid bluing.

  2. I would say that the “single subject” is “amending Title 18″…of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes”, and anything that fits under that is kosher. But then, nobody asked me…

  3. Yes, everything in the bill has to relate to the same subject. Why isn’t the subject considered “updates to Title 18”? It’s not like they’re also renaming a state park or something else from left field.

  4. A new Bill in Pa. everyone should support – Constitutional Carry – ( Call / E-Mail state reps. ) H.B. 230 by Rick Saccone .

  5. Liberty bell inscription…..

    “PROCLAIM LIBERTY THROUGHOUT ALL THE LAND UNTO ALL THE INHABITANTS THEREOF LEV. XXV X.”

    Quote from the Old Testamentent of the Bible, Leviticus chapter 25, verse 10.

    The millionth example demonstrating that your leftist professors were full of sheet when they say the founding fathers were not believers in a big way.

    • They may have been believers, but most of them were deists. You know, the guys who considered Leviticus, and Old Testament in general (and some, also NT) a bunch of ridiculous ancient fairy tales.

  6. I visited the Liberty Bell. and was frisked at the door.

    In America, Freedom is a rhetorical device used to conceal tyranny and oppression.

    • It used to be more open to the public, but a couple of years ago, they placed it in a new building to make it more “tourist-trappy”. Which made it worse in my opinion, since it seems to clutter up the the whole block now. I also found the constant references to slavery on the outdoor kiosks more annoying than informative, as if I’m supposed to suffer from some collective guilt from it.

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