PA HB1523

Will the NRA Control Decisions on HB1523 … Follow the Money!

Here’s a latest update on pending Pennsylvania House Bill 1523 – although on the state House agenda since last Wednesday, the bill has yet to get to the House floor. Today is the last day the House of Representatives are in session before recessing until mid-March.  With at least 13 proposed amendments to the bill, since the proposed legislation left the Judiciary Committee hearing, my guess is there probably will not be a decision today.

Thirty cities and towns across Pennsylvania have taken action to crack down on illegal gun trafficking but the pending bill threatens to punish them for taking local action on illegal gun traffickers and straw purchasers.  As originally written, the bill would allow any gun owner to challenge these local ordinances and to collect legal fees and damages from the city that passed such an ordinance.  As if that was not sufficient, HB1523 got a boost when it left the state Judiciary Committee … the amended HB1523 legislation grants legal standing to the NRA, allowing the pro-gun organization to sue the local municipalities, just like  individual gun owners.

This is the NRA we are talking about – the most powerful lobbying organization in the country! If you look at the supporters of HB1523, you will see support from both sides of the political aisle; this is not a Republican versus Democratic issue.  No, it seems to have less to do with party politics and more to do with legislators feeling the need to stay on the ‘right side’ of the National Rifle Association.

I wonder how many of these Harrisburg legislators have received money from the NRA?  Or, are the legislators involved in current campaigns and feel the need to stay on NRA’s approved list of candidates or elected officials? Some of  the elected officials in Harrisburg apparently do some kind of calculus and figure that there is more to be gained by staying on the ‘right side’ of the NRA than any possible downside to the safety of the local municipalities.

Why should the goals and objectives of the NRA guide the decisions of any local elected official?  Why?  What’s the saying, ‘follow the money’?

Apparently, I am not alone in my opinion.  In today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, columnist Monica Yant Kinney writes about HB1523,

“Pennsylvania gun laws are a sick joke. Any state that happily sells buyers unlimited weapons on demand is a state where politicians fear the wrath of the NRA more than the loss of their own lives. … Legislators want to have it both ways: They refuse to protect citizens, but they’ll be damned if they allow cities to do it for them.”

Amen Sister.

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PA House Bill 1523 Moves a Step Closer to Penalizing Philadelphia for Gun Control Measures

PA House Bill 1523 Update:

Today the Judiciary Committee voted on PA House Bill 1523 which “Clarifies and establishes specific and monetary relief for a person adversely affected by unauthorized municipal regulation of firearms or ammunition.”  The Judiciary Committee voted in favor of HB1523, as amended, with a 19-4 vote. (2 Judiciary Committee members did not vote).  Click here for amended HB 1523.

The NRA-ILA (Institute for Legislative Action) encourages support for HB1523, stating, “This much-needed pro-gun bill would make critical changes to enhance Pennsylvania’s firearm preemption law.”

Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York and District of Columbia have statewide ordinances that require the reporting of lost and stolen guns to law enforcement, with several other states considering similar legislation.

With today’s vote, PA House Bill 1523 now moves from the Judiciary Committee to the state house floor for consideration — giving all legislators an opportunity to weigh in on the issue. The vote moves cities like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Lancaster that have taken local action to crack down on illegal gun traffickers and straw purchases, one-step closer to financial penalties for enacting their own gun-control measures. HB1523 would allow any gun owner challenging the local ordinance to collect legal fees and damages from the city that passed such an ordinance.

Members of the Judiciary Committee who voted against HB1523 were Eugene DePasquale (D-York), Matthew Bradford (D-Montgomery County), John Sabatina (D-Philadelphia) and Ron Waters (D-Philadelphia).  In addition to serving as Pennsylvania state legislators, DePasquale, Bradford and Sabatina are attorneys and Waters is chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus.  It is interesting to note that 3 of the 4 Judiciary Committee members who opposed HB1523 are either from Philadelphia or the city’s suburbs.

Now that HB1523 will move to the state house floor for consideration, what are the thoughts of our State Representative Warren Kampf on this matter?  PA House Bill 1523 and lost and stolen gun reporting legislation is a significant issue in Pennsylvania.  Because Kampf’s legislative district is located in the Philadelphia suburbs, and one of the Pennsylvania cities that has a local lost and stolen gun reporting legislation currently on the books, it is important to know the views of our elected official.

According to the NRA-ILA website, HB1523 could move to the full House for second consideration as early as this Wednesday.

I have sent Rep. Kampf an email asking the following two questions and look forward to his response.

(1) What is your view of lost and stolen gun reporting legislation, and
(2) What is your opinion on PA House Bill 1523, and will you support it?

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