Gun bill aims to keep Pa. laws uniform

April 25, 2013|By JENNIFER FITCH |

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — State Sen. Richard Alloway is seeking co-sponsors for his latest bill that aims to prevent Pennsylvania municipalities from passing laws that do not align with state firearms regulations.

“The reason I introduced it is to protect the rights of gun owners across Pennsylvania,” Alloway, R-Franklin/Adams/York, said Thursday.

Some communities in the Philadelphia area have made decisions that are misaligned with state regulations such as permitting and reporting of lost or stolen firearms, Alloway said. They try to require registration of handguns, despite that registration not being state or federal law, he said.

Senate Bill 876 would strengthen the Uniform Firearms Act to hold municipalities accountable for enacting ordinances that are more restrictive than laws passed by the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Alloway, a life member of the National Rifle Association, said the bill would require municipalities to pay fines or attorneys fees associated with challenges to their ordinances. It also would allow the NRA to represent gun owners on their behalf in court.


The NRA issued an alert to its members asking that they contact state legislators to support Senate Bill 876.

“The myriad of local firearm laws makes compliance very difficult and nearly impossible for responsible gun owners. This creates a situation where gun owners and sportsmen have difficulty even knowing about certain laws, much less understanding them,” the NRA said in its alert posted on its website.

On Thursday, the Associated Press reported a gun owners’ rights group is threatening to sue 35 Maryland local governments unless they repeal gun regulations the group says violate state law. The Second Amendment Foundation of Bellevue, Wash., said Thursday that Maryland is the third state targeted in its campaign to eliminate more-restrictive local laws in states where local governments have little or no authority to regulate firearms.

The NRA alert claims nearly 50 local governments in Pennsylvania have enacted gun control ordinances not in line with state law.

“State firearms pre-emption was enacted by the state legislature to avoid the possibility of 2,639 separate firearm laws across the commonwealth,” the alert stated.

Alloway expects the bill to be in the judiciary committee through this fall. He also said he anticipates the bill to pit legislators with views similar to his own against Philadelphia-area lawmakers.

“It’s going to be a similar battle to the Castle doctrine, which we got done,” he said.

Alloway sponsored legislation that led to expansion of the Castle Doctrine in 2011. That law affects defense of properties.

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