The state Commonwealth Court today struck down one City Council effort to enact local gun laws.
Council members Darrell Clarke and Donna Reed Miller filed a lawsuit last fall citing a "state-created danger" after several local gun-control laws were passed but not enforced because the General Assembly had not voted on corresponding state legislation.
Clarke and Miller asked a panel of judges to rule that the state's Uniform Firearm Act does not preempt the city's own gun laws, and to force the General Assembly to accept that legislation.
But in a ruling released today, the Commonwealth Court did just the opposite. The judges said that the Act does preempt local legislation.
"While we understand the terrible problems gun violence poses for the city and sympathize with its efforts to use police powers to create a safe environment for its citizens, these practical considerations do not alter the clear preemption imposed by the legislature, nor our Supreme Court's validation of the legislature's power to act," the ruling said.
For the complete ruling, click here. The decision will most likely be appealed to the state Supreme Court.
The laws passed last fall would limit purchases of handguns to one a month, require gun owners to report lost or stolen guns to police, require a police-issued annual license to bring a gun into the city, allow police to confiscate guns from people considered a risk to themselves or others, ban semiautomatic weapons with clips that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition and establish a registry of ammunition sales.
Clarke re-submitted the legislation in January, without the language requiring state authorization.
Nutter signed the five laws and was promptly challenged in court by the NRA. A Common Pleas judge ruled in June that he could not enforce two of them – the assault weapons ban and the one-gun-a-month provision. The city and the NRA have appealed the ruling.
UPDATE: We just spoke to Mayor Nutter, who said he was still reviewing the ruling but was disappointed by the decision. He said it was particularly difficult because Philadelphia Police Officer Patrick McDonald was
» READ MORE: shot and killed
in the line of duty this week.
"From a sheer timing standpoint, given the events of this week and the events of a couple weeks ago...it is just troubling why we continue to go through this," Nutter said. "There must be further action in Harrisburg in regard to gun legislation."