Philly stock sales ban could result in lawsuit

Lawyers for two Philadelphia gun owners filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging a city law that has been in effect for several days now banning rapid-fire devices known as “backup cartridges.” The move revives a decades-long debate over whether the city can pass its own gun laws.

The plaintiffs – Philadelphia residents Vern Lei and Ross Gilson – sued the city in federal court, arguing that Pennsylvania law prohibits municipalities from creating and enforcing local gun laws that are more stringent than state laws.

Philadelphia has repeatedly and unsuccessfully tried to pass its own gun laws and overturn state laws that prohibit the city from doing so. These efforts have led to numerous court decisions blocking other local laws, including a ban on assault weapons and a ban on guns in parks and recreation centers.

“The city has been repeatedly told it cannot regulate the legal possession of firearms,” said Daniel J. Auerbach, an attorney for the plaintiffs. “He continues to do so even though court after ruling says he can’t.”

While the city was expected to face a legal challenge over the law, the lawsuit nevertheless represents one of the first major legal battles of recent Mayor Cherelle L. Parker’s term. The Democrat has advocated for the legislation as a necessary move to improve public safety in the city and held a special event Tuesday to publicly sign it just days after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on stockpiles.

The local law, passed unanimously by the City Council, prohibits any Philadelphia resident from manufacturing or purchasing devices designed to accelerate the firing rate of semi-automatic weapons. This includes stocks designed for rifles and “switches” that can be attached to handguns.

Parker’s spokesman said in a statement that the administration “strongly supports” the order and will “do everything in its power to protect Philadelphians from gun violence.” The mayor’s office does not want to comment on the details of the lawsuit.

Auerbach and attorney Andrew B. Austin wrote in court papers that the city’s prohibition of legal possession of guns is a violation of both the Second Amendment and state law, which generally prevents the city from creating its own gun laws.

” READ MORE: Judge bars Philadelphia from enforcing Mayor Jim Kenney’s ban on guns at recreation centers and playgrounds

The law, called preemption, states that “no county, township or municipality shall in any manner regulate the lawful possession, possession, transfer or transportation of any firearm, ammunition or components thereof, carried or transported for any purpose not prohibited by the laws of that commonwealth.” “

Lawyers also argued that the bump stock ban as written is vague and could result in “arbitrary enforcement.” Auerbach said other lawful gun accessories and parts could be inadvertently taken over by city law, which prohibits any device “that is intended to increase the rate of fire of a semi-automatic weapon.”

“This language is so poorly designed that anyone with any knowledge of guns has no idea what the city is talking about,” he said.

Auerbach also pointed out that there is no exception for law enforcement officers who may possess government-issued devices that are currently illegal under city law.

A Philadelphia Police Department spokesman said officers do not have stocks or switches for handguns, but some SWAT rifles include a part called an “automatic sear” that allows for fully automatic fire. The legislation includes a ban on the apply of car burners.

Gun rights groups, including the National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of America, have organized lawsuits in the past against Philadelphia’s firearms regulations, but Auerbach said the lawsuit filed this week was not funded by an interest group.

The lawsuit makes no reference to the Supreme Court’s decision last week that overturned a federal ban on the sale of bump stocks that was implemented by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives under former President Donald Trump after the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas in which 60 people died. dead.

The Supreme Court’s ruling applied to the ATF ordinance, while the local ordinance was adopted by the city’s legislature and signed into law.

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