Sen. Langerholc’s Legislation to Protect Basic Firearms Rights Is Approved by Senate Committee

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HARRISBURG – The Senate Local Government Committee has approved legislation introduced by Sen. Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35) that will protect responsible gun owners from local firearms restrictions that exceed the limits of state law.  The bill passed by a vote of 8 to 3.

“Municipalities that enact harsh, overly restrictive gun laws cannot ignore or interfere with state and federal laws and the U.S. Constitution,” Langerholc said. “When local officials overstep their legal authority by passing severe gun ordinances, law-abiding citizens rarely possess the time, money and legal skills to fight their citation and overturn the law.  This bill corrects that inequity and preserves the Second Amendment rights of Pennsylvanians.”

Sen. Langerholc’s bill, Senate Bill 5, permits an individual or organization to sue to block an overly restrictive local firearms ordinance.

Langerholc pointed out that almost all states today have a law prohibiting local jurisdictions from imposing gun control restrictions that are more severe than state law.

“By making sure that gun laws are uniform across the state, my bill gives upstanding gun owners peace of mind as they travel from township to township, county to county, and city to city within the Commonwealth.  Most importantly, the legislation places the burden on the municipality to defend its actions rather than on the citizen who may have been unjustly cited,” Langerholc said.

Although legislation similar to Senate Bill 5 was enacted in 2014, a state Supreme Court ruling overturned the law based upon procedural grounds that did not address the content or constitutionality of the law, Langerholc said.

Just as federal law supersedes state law under the doctrine of preemption, the legislation restores the original intent of the Uniform Firearms Act, which was designed to prevent municipalities from enacting their own ordinances.

CONTACT:  Diane McNaughton
(717) 787-6725          
dmmcnaughton@pasen.gov