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Gun Owners Target Illegal Ban In Lower Merion Twp.

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From The Lehigh Valley Project 9/12 Tea Party–Second Amendment Committee

Most challenges to gun-control ordinances in recent years in Pennsylvania have been dismissed outright — generally, because the plaintiffs lacked standing after the courts overturned a state law known as Act 192, according to a report on http://www.newsworks.org.

But that wasn’t the case when Lower Merion Township tried to ban guns in its parks, since one plaintiff in the suit challenging the ordinance lives in the township. Initially, Montgomery County Court upheld Lower Merion’s ordinance, but an appeals court issued a 2-1 decision against the township. Lower Merion officials say they’ll appeal the most recent ruling.

The state Supreme Court overturned Act 192 – which let the NRA and other parties sue towns – over their illegal gun laws – because of the way the legislature enacted it. About 100 municipalities had already repealed their gun ordinances and lawsuits were filed against a handful that didn’t. After the traitors in the state Supreme Court issued their decision overturning Act 192, lower courts quickly dismissed cases against Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Lancaster outright because the NRA had filed them without a resident plaintiff.

But the left-wing liberals didn’t prevail in the case against Lower Merion Township, because plaintiff Joseph Abramson lives in the township. Abramson is named on the lawsuit along with Firearms Owners Against Crime President Kim Stolfer, who lives in South Fayette Township, 25 miles southwest of Pittsburgh.

The Lower Merion law bans carrying and discharging firearms in parks without a “special permit”, which the town’s lawyer, Richard Sokorai, said refers to a concealed carry license. But the ordinance also seems to ban openly carrying firearms, which doesn’t require a permit in Pennsylvania.

Sokorai admitted the open carry issue is one that opens the door to challenge the law. The town ordinance doesn’t include exceptions, such as firing in self defense, either.

The attorney for the gun rights plaintiffs, Joshua Prince, said he was surprised those exceptions weren’t there. Including them, according to Prince, wouldn’t have “saved” the ordinance, though, according to the article. Those issues didn’t even come up in the most recent decision, mainly because the appeals court is charged with focusing on potential errors in the lower court’s reasoning.

“Only the General Assembly can regulate when it comes to firearms and ammunition,” Prince said. “And that makes perfect sense because otherwise we would have a patchwork of laws across the commonwealth to ensnare law-abiding citizens.”

This case is much the same as one he won against Erie over that city’s ban on guns in parks, Prince added.

Two out of the three judges in the appellate court felt the township seemed to be relying on its governmental powers, not on its rights as property owner, in enacting the ordinance because it provides for police to remove people from parks if they have guns.

Prince compared the prospect of municipalities restricting gun use on government property to restricting speech.

Prince also has a case filed in 2015 still pending against the city of Harrisburg over its firearms ordinances. Harrisburg resident Joshua First is listed as a plaintiff in that lawsuit, along with Stolfer and Howard Bullock of nearby Lower Paxton Township.

http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/homepage-feature/item/100176-lower-merion-will-fight-firearms-ordinance-ruling-

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