HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania House once again is considering a bill that would allow gun enthusiasts and organizations such as the National Rifle Association to sue municipalities over local firearm restrictions.

The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday voted 21-6 to send the full House a bill that would permit state residents who may legally possess a firearm, and also membership organizations, to seek relief in the courts and to be awarded legal expenses if they win.

A similar proposal became law in 2014, but Commonwealth Court overturned it because of objections to the process used to pass the proposal. The gun provision had been added to a bill that addressed the theft of metals.

When the state Supreme Court in June declined to reinstate the law, the mayors of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, which have faced lawsuits challenging gun restrictions, praised the ruling.

The new bill states that the resident or membership organization must inform the defendant 30 days before filing a legal challenge in order to be eligible for being awarded expenses.

In a memo to colleagues, a bill sponsor, Rep. Mark Keller (R., Perry), said it was unreasonable to require residents to know various firearm ordinances as they travel through different jurisdictions.

Gov. Wolf opposes the legislation in its current form, a spokesman said. The bill would only reach the governor if it passes the House and Senate before the two-year legislative session ends Nov. 30.


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