PA SAFE Caucus urges Wolf to veto pre-emption legislation should it pass

HARRISBURG, Oct. 18 - The following letter from members of the PA SAFE Caucus was sent today to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, urging him to veto a bill that would make it easier for gun groups such as the NRA to sue Pennsylvania’s municipalities, potentially threatening their budgets and placing taxpayers on the hook, should it pass the General Assembly.

A copy of the letter with signatures can be viewed here.

 

October 18, 2016

 

Dear Governor Wolf:

This week, the Senate passed Senator Alloway’s firearm pre-emption legislation, SB 1330, by a vote of 30-19. Similar legislation passed last session and was signed into law by your predecessor. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court later repealed this legislation because it was passed unconstitutionally.

SB 1330 would dangerously inflate Pennsylvania’s firearm pre-emption laws by allowing individuals and outside organizations to sue municipalities they feel have “adversely effected” their firearm rights. 

If the suit is successful, the municipality would be liable not only for damages and injunctive relief, but also for "reasonable expenses," including attorney fees, expert witness fees, court costs, and compensation for loss of income.

This extraordinary right also extends to outside organizations, such as the NRA, that get involved in local suits. This is unheard of in pre-emption law and grants outside organizations, who would otherwise not have standing, unprecedented powers and influence over local authorities.

In effect, these powers could bankrupt a township that chooses to enforce local ordinances designed to protect its community.

If SB 1330 becomes law, it would diminish a community’s ability to govern and protect itself, and also set a dangerous precedent for the rest of the nation.

The PA SAFE Caucus and its members respectfully request that your office issue a statement opposing SB 1330 or similar legislation that opens our townships and municipalities to lawsuits brought by outside organizations and private interest groups, and that you will execute veto power should this bill pass through the legislature.

 

Sincerely,

 

Legislative Members of the PA SAFE Caucus