PA Bill Number: HB2440
Title: Providing for the designation of shooting ranges, sportsman clubs, hunting facilities and business relating to the sale and production of firearms ...
Description: Providing for the designation of shooting ranges, sportsman clubs, hunting facilities and business relating to the sale and production of firear ...
Last Action: Third consideration and final passage (124-78)
Last Action Date: May 20, 2020
Pennsylvania Primary Election - 06/2/2020
Pennsylvania 501 N 3rd St, Harrisburg, PA
Pennsylvania Right to Keep and Bear Arms Rally - 06/8/2020
Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex 501 N 3rd St, Harrisburg, PA
FOAC Monthly Meeting - 06/14/2020
South Fayette Township Municipal Bldg. 515 Millers Run Road, Morgan, PA
Senate bill would allow towns to ban firearms on public property :: 03/25/2019
The bill introduced by Sen. Maria Collett, D-12, of Ambler, would allow towns to prohibit firearms on municipal properties.
A proposed bill from a Montgomery County lawmaker would let towns ban firearms on public property without fear of a lawsuit from organizations like the National Rifle Association.
Sen. Maria Collett, D-12, of Lower Gwynedd, said this week her bill primarily gives local officials authority to keep firearms out of public meeting spaces, but would not effect private gun ownership.
The bill, for which Collett is currently seeking co-sponsorship from other senators, came after a letter from Horsham’s council in January.
David Green, 72, confessed to shooting and killing Paradaise Zoning Officer Mike Triptus, 65, the morning of Nov. 27 in Triptus’ office.
Rockne Newell, a Ross Township resident with a long-running feud with officials over a property he owned, was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences – one for each victim – after opening fire at a supervisors’ meeting on Aug. 5, 2013.
“In light of these recent tragedies and amidst a groundswell of public support, it is clearly time to update our laws to bolster local elected officials’ ability to keep their constituents safe,” Collett said in a news release earlier this month.
The letter points out that state courthouses and the General Assembly prohibit guns, and says local governments should have the same ability.
“Guns are not permitted in Pennsylvania courthouses, nor are they permitted in the Capitol Building in Harrisburg,” the letter states.
“Is the protection of our judges and legislators of more concern than the protection of the children who use our parks and libraries?”
Collett said her bill was an an answer to Horsham’s question, and it was “a resounding ‘no’.”
Municipalities locally and statewide repealed firearm ordinances following the passage of Act 192 in 2015; a law primarily aimed at penalizing scrap metal theft, but included a clause allowing organizations to challenge local gun laws.
The provision essentially said the state’s firearm laws preempted municipal ordinances, and Horsham was one of many towns to repeal its ordinance banning firearms in parks to avoid a potential lawsuit.
Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17, representing parts of Montgomery and Delaware counties, successfully challenged the firearm clause to the state Supreme Court later that same year.
The court ruled that portion of Act 192 violated the state’s “single-subject rule” preventing unrelated additions to bills, but the decision did not address the legality of the language in the provision itself.
Two lawmakers introduced bills in the state House and Senate similar to Act 192 in 2017 citing a need for uniformity for gun laws statewide.
The bills introduced by Rep. Mark K. Keller, R-86, Perry and Cumberland counties, and Sen. Wayne Langerholc, R-35, Bedford, Cambria and parts of Clearfield counties, passed their respective chambers but failed to move out of committee.
While there’s currently no law allowing organizations like the NRA to sue towns with local firearm bans on public property, there’s also no law saying towns specifically have the right to do so.
Sen. Steve Santarsiero, D-10, of Lower Makefield, said he supported Collett’s bill, comparing it to the same authority allowing towns to ban smoking in public parks.
“Until Harrisburg acts on the issues like background checks and safe storage of firearms ... we have to give our towns the ability to act and to protect residents,” Santarsiero said.
All three of Santarsiero’s bills were referred to the Senate’s judiciary committee in January.
Collett is listed as a sponsor on all three of Santarsiero’s bills, and both senators are members of the judiciary committee.
Horsham Council President Gregory Nesbitt said the letter to Collett’s office stemmed from residents comments at a public meeting, and the council believed a state law addressing the preemption issue was needed.
Nesbitt added the township’s highest priority continues to be the ongoing efforts to have the military pay for drinking water contamination linked to the use of fire fighting foams at local military base.
Horsham is one of the communities hit hardest by the contamination of perfluorinated chemicals, known as PFAS, and Nesbitt said he felt it was important to note the township was not interested in becoming a local government leader in gun law reform.
Collett added the bill does not ban firearms on public properties, but only gives towns the authority to enact their owns laws should they chose to.
“It doesn’t create ‘gun-free zones’ anywhere and everywhere, that’s not the intention of the bill,” Collett said Tuesday.
“It’s really just to give (municipalities) back the reins of making sure that people’s voices are heard in their local government,” Collett added.