PRINTER'S NO. 566
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
531
Session of
2019
INTRODUCED BY LANGERHOLC, SCARNATI, FOLMER, VOGEL, BARTOLOTTA,
PHILLIPS-HILL, MARTIN, GORDNER, K. WARD, YAW, DiSANTO,
HUTCHINSON, REGAN, BREWSTER, AUMENT, MENSCH, STEFANO,
SCAVELLO AND J. WARD, APRIL 5, 2019
REFERRED TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT, APRIL 5, 2019
AN ACT
Amending Title 53 (Municipalities Generally) of the Pennsylvania
Consolidated Statutes, in general provisions, providing for
findings regarding firearms and ammunition; and, in
preemptions, providing for regulation of firearms and
ammunition.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Title 53 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated
Statutes is amended by adding sections to read:
§ 102. Findings regarding firearms and ammunition.
The General Assembly finds and declares as follows:
(1) It is proper for law-abiding people to protect
themselves, their families and others from intruders and
attackers without fear of prosecution or civil action for
acting in defense of themselves and others.
(2) Section 21 of Article I of the Constitution of
Pennsylvania guarantees that the "right of the citizens to
bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be
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questioned."
(3) Commonwealth law currently limits regulation of
firearms, ammunition and ammunition components by political
subdivisions in order to further the right guaranteed by
section 21 of Article I of the Constitution of Pennsylvania.
(4) Unlawful regulation of firearms, ammunition and
ammunition components by political subdivisions and the
threat of citation, prosecution or other legal process posed
by unlawful regulation interfere with this right.
(5) This interference with the right guaranteed by
section 21 of Article I of the Constitution of Pennsylvania
unduly inhibits law-abiding people from protecting
themselves, their families and others from intruders and
attackers and from other legitimate uses of constitutionally
protected arms, including hunting and sporting activities.
§ 306. Regulation of firearms and ammunition.
(a) Preemption.--
(1) The General Assembly has always intended and
continues to intend to occupy the entire field of regulation
of firearms, ammunition, firearms components and ammunition
components in this Commonwealth, including the purchase,
sale, transfer, taxation, manufacture, ownership, possession,
transportation and reporting of loss or theft of firearms,
ammunition, firearms components and ammunition components in
this Commonwealth, to the exclusion of an existing or future
ordinance, regulation, rule or other directive adopted by a
political subdivision. The Commonwealth by this section
preempts and supersedes any local regulation by a political
subdivision of firearms, ammunition, firearms components or
ammunition components in this Commonwealth, and any such
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local regulation is declared null and void.
(2) The provisions of section 2962(g) (relating to
limitation on municipal powers) and 18 Pa.C.S. § 6120(a)
(relating to limitation on the regulation of firearms and
ammunition) shall preempt and supersede a local ordinance,
resolution, regulation, rule, practice or other action
insofar as the local ordinance, resolution, regulation, rule,
practice or other action is inconsistent with the provisions
of section 2962(g) or 18 Pa.C.S. § 6120(a).
(b) Relief.--The following shall apply:
(1) A person adversely affected by any manner of
ordinance, resolution, rule, practice or other action
promulgated or enforced by a county or municipality in
violation of section 2962(g) or 18 Pa.C.S. § 6120(a) may seek
declarative and injunctive relief and the actual damages
attributable to the violation in an appropriate court.
(2) The court shall award reasonable expenses to the
person adversely affected if an action under paragraph (1)
results in:
(i) a final determination by a court in favor of the
person adversely affected; or
(ii) rescission or repeal of the challenged manner
of regulation or enforcement after suit has been filed
under paragraph (1) but prior to a final determination by
a court.
(c) Definitions.--As used in this section, the following
words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this
subsection unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Person adversely affected." Any of the following:
(1) A person who has standing under the laws of this
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Commonwealth to bring an action under subsection (b)(1).
(2) A resident of this Commonwealth who may legally
possess a firearm under the laws of this Commonwealth and the
United States.
(3) A membership organization, the members of which
include a person described under paragraph (1) or (2).
"Reasonable expenses." The term includes attorney fees,
expert witness fees, court costs and compensation for loss of
income.
Section 2. Within 30 days of the effective date of this
section, the Attorney General shall notify in writing all
municipalities of the provisions of 53 Pa.C.S. § 306.
Section 3. This act shall take effect as follows:
(1) The addition of 53 Pa.C.S. §§ 102 and 306 shall take
effect in 60 days.
(2) The remainder of this act shall take effect
immediately.
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